On 23 May 2017, conflict erupted between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and local non-state armed actors, including members of the Maute Group led by Isnilon Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf leader who has claimed allegiance to ISIS, in Marawi City in the province of Lanao del Sur, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The incident resulted in the immediate evacuation of nearly the entire population of Marawi City, which had 201,000 residents in 2015. Most fled to relatives and friends’ homes in nearby municipalities, with many arriving in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte province, 37 km to the north. By the evening of 23 May, President Rodrigo Duterte had declared martial law for the entire island of Mindanao to last 60 days.
The Region X and ARMM governments established a regional command and coordination centre in Iligan City on 27 May from which they coordinated the initial humanitarian response with support from national and international non-governmental organizations and UN agencies as requested. Nearly a month later, on 17 June, with no end to the conflict in sight and the number of displaced people exceeding 350,000 people, management of the response was elevated to the national level and coordination was transferred to the national response pillar clusters operating from a national emergency operations centre in Iligan City.
As of 5 July, about 353,000 people from Marawi City and 22 other municipalities are currently displaced by the conflict, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. There are about 18,000 (5 per cent) people staying in 78 designated evacuation centres, while the rest are staying with host families or in other temporary shelters.
The ARMM Crisis Management Committee reports 52 civilian deaths and 295 missing, while the military estimates about 300 people still remain trapped in the conflict zone in Marawi City. About 27 displaced people have died due to illnesses that have been exacerbated by their difficult situations in evacuation centres, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
An initial estimate of the impact of the conflict on Marawi City done by the city government as part of its humanitarian response plan indicates 61 per cent of the urban barangays and 8 per cent of the rural barangays have sustained “maximum damage”, meaning more than 20 houses, as well as infrastructure and government facilities, including schools, have been damaged or destroyed in each of 33 barangays, affecting a total of more than 84,500 people.
Another 28 per cent of the urban barangays have sustained “medium damage”, meaning fewer than 20 houses, as well as infrastructure and government facilities have been damaged in each of 13 barangays, affecting another 34,000 people.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.