MANILA, Philippines – At least 114,715 families or 522,778 persons have been displaced by the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City as of July 17, Monday.
Of this number, only 4,990 families or 27,030 are in the 87 evacuation centers spread out in Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, and Lanao del Sur.
Majority of the internally displaced persons affected by clash – an estimated number of 97,788 families or 438,701 – are staying outside evacuation centers, with their relatives or friends in surrounding regions.
In response to their needs, the Catholic Church, through the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, has earmarked P10 million ($196,869) for their humanitarian response, covering essential needs of 3,000 families or 15,000 individuals in Iligan City such as Halal food, and non-food items like hygiene kits, household items and sleeping kits.
NASSA/Caritas Philippines is the humanitarian, development, and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Caritas is also planning psychosocial activities, hygiene promotion awareness, emergency preparedness, and accountability trainings for those affected by the armed conflict.
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the effect of the unrest has displaced families coming from all 96 barangays of Marawi and 20 other municipalities of nearby Lanao del Sur.
“We are targeting the home-based evacuees or those staying in their relatives’ houses because our assessment showed that many were still underserved. The concentration of the responses by other organizations are mostly in the evacuation centers,” NASSA/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr Edwin Gariguez explained.
Caritas Manila also allocated P2 million ($39,373) in relief assistance to those affected by the Marawi crisis through the Diocese of Iligan Social Action Center.
This humanitarian response augmented the ongoing government efforts, and other non-governmental organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Save the Children, among others.
Earlier in June, the DSWD provided P5,000 ($98.43) in cash assistance for families affected by the clash. The agency also provided a total of P60,055,000 ($1,182,301) to its field offices in Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, and Caraga a few days after the start of the clashes between government troops and the combined forces of the Maute group and the Abu Sayaff group.
Donation from Comelec
The donation is also meant to be utilized to assist Comelec employees who have been affected by the ongoing armed conflict in the aforementioned city.
According to Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, it was the first donation that the agency has received from another government institution.