The Marawi conflict: Action Against Hunger is working to support internally displaced people

The Siege of Marawi: One Year On

10 things you need to know about the Marawi Crisis

By Action Against Hunger

May 22 2018

Today marks the one year anniversary of the beginning of the Siege of Marawi.

In May, 2017, the city in the Philippines became the scene of a vicious and protracted conflict between Rodrigo Duterte's Government, its military forces and insurgent groups fighting under the banner of ISIS. Located in South-East Asia, the Philippines has suffered from a broad range of issues which have led to protracted crises. With a deeply troubled history of armed conflict between the Philippines Government and various militant groups, violence has uprooted millions of people from their homes during the past four decades while natural disasters - including Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, Typhoon Hagupit in 2014 and Typhoon Vinta in 2017 - have badly impacted communities across the country leaving thousands of families homeless and without access to adequate nutrition, food and safe drinking water. The latest bout of violence on the island of Mindanao demonstrates that continued support for vulnerable families and communities in the Philippines remains absolutely imperative as the country comes to grips with its turbulent past and the impending threats of climate change.

10 Things You Need To Know About The Marawi Crisis

1. Marawi is situated on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines, South-East Asia. It is located on the northernmost shores of Lake Lanao. Before the crisis, the scenic city was home to over 200,000 people. 

2. Action Against Hunger has worked in the Philippines since 2000 in places like north and central Mindanao and Bicol and is helping communities affected by natural disasters or displaced by conflict.

3. Access to food and clean water remains a huge challenge to the most at risk in the Philippines. More than 20% of Filipino children under age five are experiencing malnutrition.

4. In July 2013, the Philippines made a major commitment to promoting nutrition, joining the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. The SUN Movement allows countries to collaborate with donors and partners in development to increase nutritional interventions where they are most needed.

5. Marawi's city became the site of a violent urban battle between ISIS fighters and government forces. The siege lasted five months, ending in November 2017, and over a thousand were killed and many more were wounded.

6. According to UNHCR, the armed confrontation between government forces and the militants in Marawi forcibly displaced 98 percent of the total population of the city, as well as residents from nearby municipalities. This caused severe food shortages and badly impacted livelihoods. 

7. Since September 2017, Action Against Hunger's mobile teams in the surrounding towns of Marawi have been distributing Food Packs to the affected population through the support of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

8. During and after the battle for Marawi, our team in the Philippines have been providing men, women and children with access to clean water and basic sanitation. 

9. Most of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) now live in overflowing and badly congested areas like school buildings that act as temporary evacuation centres. The city of Marawi will remain uninhabitable for years to come. 

10. At least 50,000 men, women and children are still displaced. Military airstrikes have transformed what was once the pride of Mindanao — the historic center of Marawi — into rubble. The entire island of Mindanao, with a population of around 20 million, is still under martial law, which was declared in the early days of the Marawi siege and recently prolonged until end of 2018. 

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Images: Lys Arango for Action Against Hunger