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EU providing P49-M aid to Marawi evacuees

MANILA, Philippines - Nearly two months since the Duterte administration decided not to accept new funds from the European Union (EU), the European Commission yesterday announced it is providing 850,000 euros or about P49 million in humanitarian aid to the country to support victims of the conflict in Marawi City.

The funding is seen to benefit over 50,000 people affected by the ongoing fighting between the Armed Forces and Islamist militants who have taken over parts of the city. 

“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,” said Pedro-Luis Rojo, head of the East, Southeast Asia and Pacific Regional office for the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

“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 EU funding, which will be channeled through the Commission’s ECHO, will focus on the provision of crucial support including food, water supply, healthcare, hygiene kits, sanitation facilities and essential household items as well as ensuring improved protection for those of concern.

Local business chambers led by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry are also donating P1.65 million in cash in addition to relief goods for Marawi city evacuees.

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ADB, WB to help in Marawi reconstruction

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank have also offered to provide assistance for rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in Marawi. 

“The World Bank is offering and also the ADB will be involved in the rehabilitation,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia in a recent interview. 

Pernia said the government is now crafting a rehabilitation and reconstruction plan for Marawi. NEDA is the vice-chair of the rehab committee while the Department of National Defense sits as chair. The government is allocating P10 billion for rebuilding efforts.

UN: 350,000 displaced

Clashes broke out in Marawi when the Maute group overran parts of the city on May 23, prompting President Duterte to declare martial law in the entire region of Mindanao.

Latest available data showed that around 400 people were killed while more than 350,000 others have been displaced, according to a report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

A majority of the internally displaced persons are staying with relatives or friends in nearby municipalities, while about five percent are staying in evacuation centers in Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental and Lanao del Sur.

The report said the violence has tragic consequences for Marawi and surrounding regions. – With Czeriza Valencia, Pia Lee-Brago

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