ICRC: Humanitarian Assistance still needed as war continues in Marawi City

COTABATO CITY – “The situation is far from over. Fighting is ongoing, and civilians who are trapped or are displaced continue to face challenging situations. There is still a need to support more than 200,000 displaced people with food, drinking water, sanitation facilities and health care in the coming weeks,” said Roberto Petronio, Head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Mindanao in a press statement released on Friday, June 23. 

This story of griming images of people fleeing from the war zone and those inside evacuation centers was conveyed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as the armed clashes continue in Marawi City between Government troops and ISIS-inspired Maute group backed by Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) now in its 34th day as of this writing.

An evacuee Casamudin Riga, 51 years old trader from Barangay Marinaut, Marawi City describes their situation inside the evacuation center “As very unpleasant – it’s humid during the day, but it’s too cold at night. As evacuees, we don’t have much choice. I’m just grateful because at least my family is complete and we’re safe. We hope that we can return to our homes soon, and start again.”

ICRC said that in the first week of the clashes, they tried to intervene for the safe evacuation of civilians trapped by the fighting. However due to the fast-changing security situation, a humanitarian ceasefire had not been possible.

This neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization said that they will continue to focus on areas more difficult to reach such as the east and west sides of Lake Lanao and will continue its dialogue with the parties involved in the fighting to emphasize the protection of civilians.

“Looking forward, the future needs of the displaced families will include support for their return to Marawi City, while those who cannot go home need temporary relocation or settlement”, Petronio stressed. 

The ICRC and Philippine Red Cross team has been very active in providing assistance to the traumatized IDPs since the conflict broke-out in mostly Moro-Meranaw inhabited Muslim City of Marawi.