Philippines

Marawi, Three Years Later

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It’s been three years since armed groups stormed Marawi City. Today, more than 120,000 people are scattered in transitory sites or home-based settings in Lanao del Sur.

Those living in displacement continue to face difficulty to access basic services to help them rebuild their lives. UNHCR and its partners continue to work on the ground to provide protection and quick-impact projects to safeguard the rights of families still living in displacement.

The threat of COVID-19 heightens the risk of displaced families and their communities. Among their needs include: Access to hygiene facilities. The need for water and hygiene projects remains to be a continued concern. Water can be difficult to come-by in transitory shelters. The lack of this necessity puts families at risk of diseases including COVID-19. Access to livelihood – Internally displaced families have their livelihoods disrupted by the community quarantine. Access to information – IDPs have limited access on relevant information on COVID-19. Not all information that they access are reliable as some are coming from unauthorized persons.

No one lives in Sarimanok Tent City anymore. At its height, it had more than 200 families living in tents made of plastic, wood, and strengthening material. Some families resided here since they lost everything during the conflict in Marawi two years ago. They often had difficulty accessing basic services and were at risk to the elements.

The government and its partners began moving the internally displaced last 05 December 2019. By 25 January 2020, the last 64 families were moved to Rorogagus Transitory Site. The 200 families are now in four different transitory sites across the city. It was the last of evacuation centers that served to shelter the internally displaced.

A safer roof over their head

Transitory shelters offer more protection from elements and provide a more dignified way of life. The displaced families are ensured better living conditions because of stronger, safer, and more comfortable shelters. But the journey to rebuild a better life continues.

“The shelters are transitory, and it is not a durable solution for them. It is known to the internally displaced persons that they are only able to occupy the shelter for a five-year period,” said UNHCR Field Associate, Jalanie Pangalian.

Those who live in transitory shelters are now faced with new challenges. Livelihood opportunities can be more difficult to come by due to the distance from the city center. There is also a scarcity of food as there are limited agencies that deliver food assistance.

“The feeling of being displaced is there and they still want to return to their places of origin in the most affected areas in Marawi City,” said UNHCR Field Associate Jalanie Pangalian.

The work continues

It has been more than two years since the Marawi conflict. Thanks to the kindness of individual donors and our partners on the ground, much has been done to help the families who have been forcibly displaced. However, more than 100,000 individuals still live in displacement and are in need of protection and support. With your help, we will continue to address the most pressing needs facing them today: livelihood opportunities, access to learning for the children, health-related interventions, water, sanitation, and hygiene, and other quick impact projects that will allow them to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity.