Marawi, Three Years Later
Three years after the Marawi conflict, 126,775 people are still displaced, living in transitory shelters and community-based evacuation centers. With the threat of COVID-19, they have become even more vulnerable and are in urgent need of aid and protection.
It has been three years since armed groups stormed Marawi City. 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 120,000 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.
In the past two years, through the support of donors like you, UNHCR’s intervention came in the form of life-saving assistance, activities aimed at protecting the well-being and safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable, and projects that facilitate safety and dignity for the forcibly displaced.
In July 2017, just two months after the conflict erupted, UNHCR Philippines distributed core relief items to several evacuation centers around Marawi city, including the ones in Buru-un and Saguiaran.
UNHCR also assisted the most vulnerable people with special needs. UNHCR provided wheelchairs, beddings, and specialized equipment for the elderly, the disabled, and children with the impaired ability to walk. To this day, our monitoring activities strive to identify those with special needs and provide the necessary aid.
In October 2017, UNHCR facilitated the distribution of Philhealth identification cards for the internally displaced. We also arranged for an SMS broadcast system for emergencies, in partnership with SMART Communications. These initiatives lessened their protection risks like freedom of movement, as well as facilitated their access to social services.
A year after the conflict, humanitarian gaps were still identified hence the continued distribution of core relief items. In June 2018, UNHCR went to Barangay Guimba and West Pantar, and distributed plastic tarpaulins, clothing, and blankets.
As part of our World Refugee Day activities in June 2018, we teamed up with global partner Uniqlo for mass clothing distribution in several transitory shelters. Clothes and other relief items were distributed to more than 300 families around the areas of Guimba, West Pantar, and the Sarimanok evacuation center in Poblacion, Marawi. (© UNHCR/Martin San Diego)
UNHCR Philippines continues its protection monitoring activities in several communities in Marawi. Our field staff consistently make rounds in these transitory shelters to monitor the state of the people, consult with the IDPs, and help them identify their potential needs. This photo was taken around the area of Marinaut, one of the Barangays in Marawi that was most damaged by the conflict.
In 2019, as we inch into the third stage of our support, we have arranged several Quick Impact Projects to help the Maranaos get back on their feet. In Barangay Poona Marantao, there were a lot of dressmakers who lost their business when conflict erupted. UNHCR has provided sewing machines for these dressmakers, and they now have a stable communal dress shop in the community, and this is being developed into a cooperative. (© UNHCR/Lyka Gonzalez)
After the conflict, water became a very scarce resource for the families in Mindanao. Beginning in late 2018, UNHCR and its partners started to build sustainable solutions to make sure that clean water flows through the communities and transitory shelters. UNHCR mended the water system of more than five barangays, providing more than 500 people a reliable source of clean water.
The work continues
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 most pressing nneeds 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.