Life after escaping Marawi clashes

Rosela and her family fled to one of the evacuation centres after an armed conflict erupted in Marawi City last May 23. Upon hearing the gun shots, she and her husband gathered their children and rushed to a nearby military camp to take refuge.


“Those were the longest days of our lives. I was very worried about my children and no matter how I wanted to be positive, my fears of losing any one of my family members shook me to the core,” says the 37-year old mother.


During those days in the camp, she worried about her youngest child, 2-year old Mercy, who kept crying every time she hears gun shots and loud explosions.


One of her daughters would no longer utter a word. Rosela knew her daughter was shocked from the fire fight. According to UNICEF, at least 50,000 children were affected in Marawi, a city of more than 200,000 people. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)-Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team reports that as of June 1, more than 44,000 families have been displaced. Of which, 11, 632 are in evacuation centres while 32, 625 are staying with their relatives.


Rosela, her husband, and their five children join the almost 1,000 people in the evacuation centre.


“Life is not easy here but I’m glad we’re all alive. I don’t want to go back to Marawi yet. I’m afraid that the conflict will happen again and I don’t want my children to go through the same experience,” she shares.


Aside from expressing her family’s need for clothes for her children, bed kits like blankets, Rosela also expressed her worry for her children’s health and education.


“Mercy is now having rashes because it’s hot and humid here. I also don’t know where to enroll my children because we still can’t go back to Marawi. The school opening is supposed to be on Monday,” she laments. Reports show that at least 22,000 elementary and high school students who are supposed to start classes on June 5 have been affected.


The same concerns were seen and observed by World Vision team that was deployed on June 1 in Mindanao.


“World Vision is gravely concerned about the situation of the displaced families, especially the children who are now suffering the consequences of the fire fight,” shares World Vision’s Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Director Ajab Macapagat.


In the next days, World Vision will be distributing emergency relief items that include hygiene kits, non-food items like blanket, mosquito nets, mats and malong to at least 2,000 families who are now in the evacuation centres.


“We are closely coordinating with the social welfare department, the local government and other humanitarian actors on the ground to see how we can best complement the government’s efforts. We also call on everyone to help us stand with the people of Marawi,” Macapagat adds.


World Vision is also collaborating with the Department of Education in providing temporary learning spaces and learner’s kits for the children. Child-friendly Spaces will also be set up for children to have a safe space where they can play, express their emotions and do educational activities.


“Despite what we’re going through, it feels good to know that everyone is helping each other. It’s a tough time but we are hopeful that this will soon pass,” ends Rosela. World Vision/June 4, 2017


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