World, Asia - Pacific

Thousands of Marawi refugees unable to return home

The refugees are in need of help and attention

21.12.2017
Thousands of Marawi refugees unable to return home FILE PHOTO - MARAWI, PHILIPPINES

By Hader Glang

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines

Thousands of Muslim Filipinos, displaced by recent armed conflict in the southern city of Marawi have not returned to their homes, according to the Red Cross in a statement Wednesday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told Anadolu Agency in an emailed statement that the refugees are in need of help and attention.

ICRC delegate Meher Khatcherian said a majority of the refugees staying in towns east of Lake Lanao come from the worst affected parts of the city of Marawi and that they're still dependent on relatives, the authorities, and aid organizations.

Quoting a mother (Aisah Torogonan) of five, who is a refugee in the eastern part of the Lanao Lake, Khatcherian reported where they stay is cramped and they can barely find a place to sleep.

Aisah said they try to find ways to earn extra cash to support themselves but there is not enough to help them make ends meet.

"Most of us still still rely on the assistance, especially food rations, that the government and other agencies give us," the ICRC quoted Aisah as saying.

The ICRC said Aisha is just one of the many displaced residents from Marawi who are struggling to rebuild their lives and looking forward to returning to their homes once they can.

Fighting between government forces and the Daesh-linked Maute group backed by Abu Sayyaf militants started May 23, in Marawi, forcing nearly 400,000 residents to flee the city and outlying towns in Lanao del Sur province.

The war, which lasted for five months, also left more than 1,000 people dead, mostly militants. At least 1,400 were also wounded during the battle.

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