In this issue
Marawi humanitarian crisis P.1
Sabah deportees in Tawi-Tawi P.2
Reproductive health in emergencies P.4
Philippines-US Disaster response simulation P.6
• Conflict in Marawi City continues, with over 100,000 displaced as they flee to nearby provinces. Martial law has been declared in Mindanao.
• Sabah deportees repatriated to the Mindanao island provinces of Tawi-Tawi, Basilan and Sulu find education and livelihood options are limited.
• The Philippines continues the momentum to deliver on a pledge made during the World Humanitarian Summit to provide sexual and reproductive health services in emergencies.
• UN agencies and IFRC participate in the USPhilippines Balikatan exercise, which focuses this year on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Over 100,000 displaced in Marawi as conflict continues and martial law in effect in Mindanao
Armed conflict continues in Marawi City, Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), where as of 31 May, more than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to seek safety in nearby provinces. According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), out of the displaced, more than 13,000 are in evacuation centres while over 79,000 are staying with family and loved ones. The firefight started on 23 May between the Government army and the Maute Group, a local non-state armed organization. Two weeks into the clash, media are reporting that fatalities are close to 100, including 19 civilians. Airstrikes by Government forces continue to target remnants of the Maute Group who have occupied a number of buildings in the city.
Government response and relief assistance
On the evening of 23 May, the national government signed Proclamation no. 216, declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for the entire island of Mindanao. Human rights groups and local Mindanao political leaders have appealed to the government to uphold rights of civilians during this period. The ARMM government is continuing to evacuate people trapped in Marawi City, and has delivered relief items such as food and water within the city. Local authorities also continue to provide relief items and health services to those who have fled the fighting. The ARMM government reports an estimated 2,300 people caught in the conflict zone as of 29 May.
National and regional authorities set up the Regional Coordination Center in Iligan City on 29 May. Chaired by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Region X, OCD ARMM, and the ARMM Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, it is serving as the main sub-national coordination hub until further notice.
In Manila, the Departments of Health and Education have called respective cluster meetings on 31 May and 1 June and invited the Humanitarian Country Team, composed of UN agencies and international non-governmental organizations. The Department of Foreign Affairs also held a briefing to the diplomatic community on the overall situation in Mindanao.
Humanitarian coordination and response
As the situation continues to evolve, protection is an increasing concern, especially in evacuation centres.
According to UNHCR’s protection update, as of 30 May, access to food and other basic items such as drinking water and medicine remain a priority need for those who are in evacuation centres as well as those staying with their families. Initial protection concerns have been identified in evacuation centres, such as shelter from heat and rain, insufficient latrines, water and sanitation facilities which could trigger health risks.
On 29 May, the ARMM government made a request for assistance to the Mindanao Humanitarian Team, which consists of UN agencies and international and local non-governmental agencies. The request was to support water and sanitation needs at evacuation centres and host municipalities. There was also an expressed need for assistance to help track IDPs.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Philippine Red Cross have had teams operating between in and between Iligan and Marawi Cities since 26 May. They are supporting evacuation centres in Marawi City and Saguiaran and are transporting people from Marawi City to the centres and other places outside the city.
The Red Cross is also augmenting the Government’s response activities, including the provision of several water treatment plants and water bladders. Other assistance includes delivering medical supplies to hospitals, and providing psycho-social support to evacuees.
ACTED, IOM, OCHA, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP and Community and Family Services International are in Iligan City coordinating with the Regional Coordination Center. UNHCR has a team on the ground and have distributed tarpaulins to one municipality and to ARMM-HEART for shelter use. OCHA has deployed a team to Iligan City to support coordination and information management with the Government’s Regional Coordination Center. Limited movement in Iligan City makes it a challenge to monitor the situation, and affects the humanitarian response. Presently, members of the Humanitarian Country Team are responding to requests for assistance using prepositioned stocks and other resources available in the country.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.