Displaced Philippine residents dependent on aid 2 months after Marawi conflict

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-20 21:02:41|Editor: Zhou Xin
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MANILA, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Two months after the Marawi conflict ended in the Philippines, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday that thousands of its displaced residents remain dependent on aid.

"It has been almost two months since armed conflict ended in Marawi City but thousands of displaced people remain unable to return home and are in need of help and attention," the ICRC said in a statement.

A majority of the displaced people staying in municipalities east of Lake Lanao come from the worst affected parts of Marawi City that have not opened for return yet. "They are still dependent on relatives, the authorities and aid organizations," the relief agency said.

The ICRC said it continues to distribute food and hygiene supplies to thousands of people still displaced in Lanao del Sur.

Aisah Toroganan, a mother of five who is currently seeking refuge in the eastern part of the lake, is one of the recipients of the ICRC aid.

Aisah and her family have been living with her aunt in Molundo, a town in Lanao del Sur province, since the fighting broke out between government security forces and pro-Islamic State (IS) extremists in May.

The Toroganans left their home and everything they had behind once they felt it was too dangerous for them to stay in the besieged Marawi.

"Where we live now, we are 34 people occupying three small houses in the compound. The place is cramped and we can barely find a place to sleep," she said.

She added, "We try to find ways to earn extra cash to support ourselves. I, for example, use my skills as a seamstress by offering sewing services to neighbors, but that is not enough to help us make ends meet. Most of us still rely on the assistance, especially food rations, that the government and other agencies give us."

Like the other displaced residents, Aisah is looking forward to return to their house in Marawi once they will be allowed to do so. She hopes to receive seed capital to restart her business as well as cash to repair any damages of their house.

Philippine government said displaced Marawi residents are being thoroughly screened before allowing them to enter the devastated city to ensure that no militants can penetrate the city again.

The five-month conflict claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people and forced thousands of its residents to flee.

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