Manila, 4 July 2017 – The European Commission is providing € 850 000 (PHP 49 Million) in humanitarian aid funding to provide emergency assistance to civilians who have fled the ongoing violence in the southern Philippine city of Marawi. The aid will directly benefit over 50 000 people affected by the ongoing fighting between the armed forces and islamist militants which have taken over parts of the city.
“The unprecedented violence in Marawi has caused tens of thousands of families to flee, leaving everything behind. This has triggered a sharp increase in humanitarian needs as many of the displaced people are currently deprived of fundamental means to sustain their day-to-day lives”, said Pedro-Luis Rojo, Head of the East, South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office for the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). “This grant from the EU will support the delivery of immediate life-saving assistance to those most in need, and contribute to increased protection of populations affected by the conflict”.
According to the latest available data, over 400 people have been killed more than 400 000 others have been displaced in the area. The sudden, large-scale displacement has to a new humanitarian crisis, exacerbating the already-dire situation in the region, marred by years of conflict. Priority concerns for those recently displaced are access to food, clean water, sanitation facilities, and proper hygiene in evacuation centres.
The EU funding, which will be channelled through the Commission’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), will help address the most pressing needs of vulnerable populations. The aid, delivered through an ECHO partner, will focus on the provision of crucial support including food, water supply, health care, hygiene kits, sanitation facilities and essential household items as well as ensuring improved protection for those of concern.
Fighting broke out in Marawi when the Maute islamist group took parts of the city on 23rd May, and has since continued unabated. The city has witnessed numerous ground and air assaults, including gunfire exchanges, bomb explosions and airstrikes, leaving large parts of the town destroyed. Although the heavy fighting between the militants and the Armed Forces of the Philippines sparked the evacuation of the vast majority of residents, several hundred people are reported to remain stranded in the city. As intense fighting is still ongoing, humanitarian access to the city itself is presently very difficult.
Whilst the majority of the displaced people are known to be staying with their families or relatives in surrounding areas, over 22 000 are currently sheltered in some 80 evacuation centres in nearby towns. Displaced populations presently do not have proper access to food, nutritious diets, potable water and proper sanitation facilities. Potential prolonged displacement will inevitably increase the vulnerability and needs of these civilians, who have no means of livelihoods until they can return.
Pierre Prakash, Regional Information Officer for Asia and the Pacific, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO): +66 89 811 54 81, Pierre.Prakash@echofield.eu
Thelma Gecolea, Public Affairs Officer, EU Delegation to the Philippines: (02) 8595124, firstname.lastname@example.org