European Commission gives P49-M aid for Marawi evacuees

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – The European Commission is giving 850,000 euros (P48 million) in humanitarian aid for thousands of people who were forced to flee the clashes between government troops and local terrorists in Marawi City.

Pedro-Luis Rojo, head of the East, South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), said on Tuesday, July 4, that the aid will directly benefit over 50,000 people affected by the Marawi siege.

“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,” Rojo said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

The aid will be channelled through the Commission’s ECHO and will be delivered through an ECHO partner.  

The assistant will help address the most pressing needs of the evacuees such as the provision of food, water supply, health care, hygiene kits, sanitation facilities, and essential household items; and ensuring improved protection for the evacuees.

Nearly 400,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, which entered its 43rd day on Tuesday. The death toll is at 400.  (READ: Fighting in Marawi displaces nearly 400,000)

Out of the 389,300 who have fled Marawi, over 70,380 have been housed in 79 government-run evacuation centers, while the rest have sheltered with their relatives, according to figures from the Department of Social Welfare and Department.(READ: Marawi children need our help)

Fighting in Marawi broke out on May 23, when government troops, in pursuit of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, battled local terrorists.

The city has witnessed numerous ground and air strikes, leaving large parts of the city in ruin. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Death and destruction in Banggolo, heart of Marawi)

As intense fighting continued, access of humanitarian aid workers to the city remained difficult. There are concerns of prolonged displacement of Marawi residents long after the fighting, as they would have no more homes and livelihood to return to. 

President Rodrigo Duterte created an inter-agency committee on the rehabilitation of Marawi and had earlier ordered P20 billion to be set aside for the city's rehabilitation program. (READ: What evacuees can expect from gov't when they return to MarawiRappler.com 

* 1 euro = P57.32