CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has assured that it will remain in the war-ravaged Marawi City to extend humanitarian aid to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) until the situation there has returned to normal.
“ICRC is committed to stay in the longer term in order to continue to advocate for these people and to provide for the necessary assistance for their survival,” Petronio said.
ICRC’s role in Marawi residents’ road to recovery, he said, is only “to make sure that their basic needs are covered.”
“The concern of the people who are still displaced, the concern of how fast they will be able to recover their life, in every community the most vulnerable are the elderly, the sick, the poor, the ones who lost everything, the single mothers, the children—for us these are the population which are going to suffer the longest, and also for them that we tend to stay,” Petronio added.
The humanitarian organization said it will only leave Marawi once its residents have gotten back on their feet and they no longer need ICRC’s assistance, saying that “When we see that ICRC is no longer necessary then we deploy our needs in other places where our presence needed.”
To date, ICRC has spent more than $1 million for Marawi, including the direct and indirect costs of bringing in humanitarian assistance to the displaced civilians.
The greatest challenge for the ICRC in responding to the first few weeks of the crisis was on its effort, and how it was stymied due to various factors, to evacuate civilians who were still trapped in the city as fighting raged on between the government troops and the enemy forces.
Petronio said they even facilitated for a momentary ceasefire but it did not material for some reason.
“The biggest frustration was that we were not able to evacuate these people in the best condition and, unfortunately, some of them have lost their lives, have been traumatized, have been wounded, and we could have, if the situation would have been different, we could have saved more lives. That’s for me the biggest frustration as ICRC delegate that I have for the Marawi crisis,” he added. (davaotoday.com)