Since May 23, 2017 the Philippines army has been fighting Islamist militants in the southern city of Marawi on the island of Mindanao. As of June 4, the conflict has resulted in the death of 218 people, including 20 civilians, and more than 290,000 people (more than 58,000 families) have been displaced, according to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao-Humanitarian Emergency Response Action Team (ARMM-HEART), the local coordinating body on the humanitarian response. Displaced families are seeking refuge in evacuation centers managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, or are seeking shelter with their relatives and friends in adjacent areas. It is expected that displaced families will be unable to return home for at least the next three months due to the destruction inside Marawi City and surrounding areas. According to government authorities, the number of displaced people is expected to increase as the conflict and resulting economic fallout continues. Marawi City is currently inaccessible to humanitarian organizations.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front have condemned the siege and reiterated their commitment to the peace process. LWR Philippines is receiving regular updates on the situation and the conditions in Marawi from our local partner, Maranao People Development Center (MARADECA). MARADECA carried out a rapid needs and market assessment in Iligan City — where many families have found refuge and markets are operating normally — and found that families are most in need of clean water and cash for food, health care and essential sanitation and hygiene items.
According to MARADECA, very few agencies are providing assistance and the support from the government is still very limited. Families affected by the conflict have received food packs, though there have been complaints that the food packs are of poor quantity and quality. For example, people are reporting the food packs only last for two days and include rice with mold, expired canned goods and insufficient nutritious food.