IN PHOTOS: Marawi’s evacuees

Bobby Lagsa
IN PHOTOS: Marawi’s evacuees
This is their story as they try to live normal lives in an abnormal situation

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – It was only on June 24 – or a month after the start of the Marawi siege – that I was able to visit the evacuation centers where hundreds are taking temporary shelter.

Since the Marawi crisis started last May 23, close to 200,000 people left the city to get away from the fighting between terrorist Maute Group, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), and government forces.

The internally displaced shared the same story – they were caught in a crossfire and they had to leave their homes for the relative safety of nearby towns and cities.

Some were lucky enough to get a ride out of the city, while others have to walk along the national highway. Some had to walk for two days through thick jungle to get to Pantao Ragat town in Lanao del Norte.

Though not sure of what awaits them at the evacuation centers, it is much better to gamble outside Marawi than to stay behind and face uncertainties.

These photos were taken at the Madrasah AL Khairiyah in Balo-i, and in Barangay Bubong in Pantao Ragat, evacuation centers not yet visited by any media organization.

At the evacuation centers, they were received openly by a family who runs a former orphanage, now converted into a madrasah, in Balo-i.

The other is a small two-room madrasah in Pantao Ragat, a small community on the outskirts of the town proper.

This is their story as they try to live normal lives in an abnormal situation. They want to get back on their feet, waiting for news about their homes and their city.

They just want to live in peace, far away from the troubles and threats of terror and religious extremism.

An elderly Maranao woman sits on a corner in a dilapidated classroom that serves as their evacuation center in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

A Maranao child cuts open an icepop with a knife inside a dilapidated classroom that serves as their evacuation center in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte. The lack of water and sanitation facilities adds to their burden as they try to cope with life in crowded evacuation centers.

Maranao women walk inside an evacuation center in Madrasah Al Khairiya in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

A Maranao family prepares for lunch with relief packs delivered to them by different government and non-government organizations. They shares the room with 5 other families inside an evacuation center in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

A Maranao woman fetches water for her use in a comfort room inside an evacuation center in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

IDPs prepares for the construction of a temporary toilet with donations from government and non-government organizations inside an evacuation center in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

A boy watches over his brother in makeshift hammock inside a wornout classroom that serves as their evacuation center in in Barangay Bubong, Pantao Ragat, Lanao del Norte.

Displaced chilren smile while playing at an evacuation center in Barangay Bubong, Pantao Ragat, Lanao del Norte.

Rappler.com

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