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ICRC starts assistance to Marawi City areas

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it has begun providing assistance to the war-stricken areas in Marawi City.

In Iligan, the ICRC has prepositioned medical supplies to reinforce the capacity of rural health units in addressing the basic health needs of displaced people, it said in a statement e-mailed to TIMES.

The supplies include basic medicines, antibiotics, dressing materials; as well as injectable medication and intravenous fluids that can support 30,000 people in three months.

The Balo-I and Saguiaran rural health units have also been given two health kits.

The ICRC has also delivered 1,000 water jugs to provide the displaced families who are staying at the Provincial Capitol with drinking water.

The agency is also giving out water treatment units in critical areas.

The latest update is dated May 29, around seven days after President Rodrigo Duterte declared Mindanao under a state of Martial Law.

"In partnership with the Philippine Red Cross, we set up a water bladder and mobile water treatment unit at Saguiaran evacuation center in Lanao del Sur to provide clean water to around 2,000 families or 10,000 individuals displaced by the fighting in Marawi City," the agency said.

Around 500 individuals trapped inside Marawi City have been transferred to the Saguiaran evacuation center.

"We have distributed food packs and essential household items to 350 families at Saguiaran evacuation center," it said.

Each food pack contains ample amounts of rice, cooking oil, soy sauce, sugar, salt, cans of sardines, as well as essential household items such as ladles, knives, cooking pots, frying pans, plates, spoons and forks, towels, blankets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats, and hygiene kits.

Meanwhile, the ICRC also assisted in providing the body bags to support the retrieval of eight bodies found near the entrance of Marawi City.

"We continue to urge those involved in the fighting to ensure the protection of civilians and respect civilian properties, especially those dedicated to medical functions, in fulfillment of their obligations to respect the international humanitarian law (IHL)," the ICRC asked.

Fighting within Marawi City is still ongoing, and there are still a number of civilians trapped within the city, the ICRC said.

The estimated total population of Marawi City is around 200,000.

"Thousands of people have fled the fighting in Marawi City seeking safety in neighboring areas such as Saguiaran, Balo-i and Iligan City. Many families are staying with relatives, while others went to evacuation centers or sought shelters in schools," the ICRC said.

According to the Red Cross, those who are left behind in Marawi "face very limited access to food and water."

"As fighting continues, people continue to feel fear and insecurity," the ICRC said. "The most vulnerable of the people who try to leave Marawi City often do not have their own transportation or have no means to pay/organize transport out of the city."

Food and water remain the most urgent needs of the evacuees.

"With the influx of evacuees, some evacuation centers experience water and sanitation issues such as lack of access to toilets and clean water due to limited facilities to cater everyone's needs," the ICRC said.

"In Balo-i evacuation center, for example, only two toilets are available for almost 1,000 individuals."

The ICRC said it was concerned about the involvement of civilian casualties in the skirmishes.

[Source: By Yas D. Ocampo, Mindanao Times, 01Jun17]

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small logoThis document has been published on 01Jun17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.