- With further displacement reported, 100,000 children are thought to be displaced; some of whom may be separated or unaccompanied. Only half of them are currently accessing Government services through formal evacuation centers.
- There is widespread fear among children and the need for urgent scaling up of psychosocial support.
- 86,000 school-aged children are unable to return to school with the re-opening of schools suspended indefinitely.
- There is an urgent need to scale up capacities to verify multiple reports of Grave Child Rights Violations and respond to cases.
- While the basic needs of children in evacuation centers are being partially met, there are concerns for families/children living with host families in poorer municipalities/barangays (villages) and in ‘unofficial’ evacuation centers.
The Government of the Philippines launched a military and law enforcement operation in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, on 23 May 2017 against the Maute Group, a local non-state armed group that has claimed allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). Within hours of the conflict outbreak, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law for the entire Mindanao region in the Philippines.
Mass evacuations took place as local residents left and sought refuge in identified safe areas in Marawi City and in the adjacent areas of Lanao del Sur (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao/ARMM) and Lanao del Norte, including Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City (Region X). As of 1 June 2017, 221,275 individuals, half assumed to be children, are staying in local government-run evacuation centers or are being hosted by relatives and friends in surrounding areas. Approximately 58,160 individuals are in recognized evacuation centers, and the majority of individuals (163,115) are in host community arrangements (ARMM HEART SITREP 06-01A). By all indications, the numbers of those displaced should have plateaued, but evacuation centers are overcrowded and ill-equipped to address the residents’ existing needs. Ongoing rain in some areas have further compounded overcrowding because of flooding in and around the evacuation centers. Unofficial evacuation centers have been established to house additional individuals but there is a possibility that they will not receive support because of their ‘unofficial’ status. No current information disaggregates numbers by gender or age, but a disproportionate number of those in evacuation centers are reported to be women and children.
Currently, Marawi City is under the control of the Government, with some areas on the outskirts still subject to armed clashes. Assessments in areas surrounding Marawi City and in evacuation centers have been initiated. Access to areas affected by the conflict is extremely limited. As a consequence, humanitarian needs there are mostly unknown. While peace corridors have been negotiated, they have not stayed open for long before the resumption of fighting. There are still unconfirmed numbers of civilians, possibly in the thousands, trapped within the city. It is assumed that food stocks and water supplies in these areas may be limited. Children left behind and separated from caregivers and family members in these communities have been identified as especially vulnerable.