Thousands of displaced Marawi City residents started their journey home early this week, several days after the official declaration of an end to armed clashes between government forces and the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group.
Around 65 villages sustained minimum to medium damage in the five-month conflict and more than half of Marawi’s estimated 200,000 population will be returning to what is left of their homes.
“As we support the needs of the returnees, we remain deeply concerned about the thousands of people who will be unable to return in the coming months. They will also need constant support during this period,” according to Roberto Petronio, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Mindanao sub-delegation, after his recent trip to Marawi City.
The ICRC supports Marawi City by enhancing the returnees’ access to healthcare and potable water.
Barangay (village) health stations in Basak Malutlut, Poblacion Marawi, East Basak and Bangon also received essential medicines and supplies from the ICRC.
With the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the ICRC installed 11 water distribution points to augment the supply of potable water to nine villages in the western part of Marawi City and donated two generators to the Marawi City Water District, enabling it to supply around 62,000 people with five million liters of safe water every day.
“In the coming weeks, we will focus our assistance on thousands of people who will remain displaced in the southern and western parts of Lake Lanao as these areas do not receive as much help due to problems of access,” Petronio said.
As part of its work to reunite families separated by conflicts, the ICRC also continues to follow up cases of those who went missing in Marawi.
It also supports the PRC in its services, tracing the missing on the ground and through the website https://familylinks.icrc.org/Philippines.
The ICRC is a neutral and independent organization whose mission is exclusively humanitarian, that is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.
It also endeavors to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.