Thousands of IDPs are gradually returning to some areas of Marawi City and surrounding municipalities. Humanitarian needs of the affected population remain and will continue well into the new year.
Non-governmental organizations who were displaced by the Marawi conflict reopen their field offices and continue operations.
Marawi humanitarian actors participate in a Gender in Humanitarian Action training in Iligan City.
Hope for lasting peace and safety: IDPs begin return to Marawi
The gunfire has fallen silent in Marawi City since the military declared the end of the conflict in October. The hope of returning home has rekindled for over 350,000 internally displaced persons who sought refuge with host families and in evacuation centres for the last five months. Thousands of people returning to their barangays are finding out what is left of their properties and homes. The Government of the Philippines has started the phased return of Marawi City residents whose homes had minimum to medium damage. As of 10 December, the Government has facilitated the return of over 26,000 families following clearing operations by the military for unexploded ordnance and debris. The UN migration agency, IOM is assisting authorities with facilitating the safe and dignified return of the displaced to their places of origin. People from about one third of barangays affected by heavy fighting and destructions during the conflict may not be able to return soon. An estimated 9,500 families are from 24 barangays completely destroyed by the conflict.
As of early December, some shops in Basak Malutlut, Datu Saber, Poona and Amito Marantao barangays have opened for business. Fabrication of bricks for housing by private companies is picking up. The most affected areas are envisioned to be transformed to become the modern business area in the city, with support from the private sector. However, issues on land ownership need clarification in the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Marawi.
Challenges of returning home
Many of those who initially returned to Marawi have subsequently gone back to evacuation centres and host communities due to the delays in restoration of utilities, services, schools and livelihood opportunities.
Local markets are slowly returning, but restoring the food supply chain is one of the most immediate rehabilitation requirements and is crucial to complete the transition from emergency to recovery. Both returnees and displaced communities will need continued support to address their basic food and nutrition needs. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is focusing on the emergency delivery of rice, corn seeds and fertilizer to enable returning farming families to catch the year-end planting season. IDPs are also being provided with vegetable production and boiler chicken production packages to help augment incomes and food supply.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.