Protect civilians caught in crossfire and allow humanitarian actors safe entry to provide life saving assistance – Oxfam and Local Partners
As conflict continues to intensify in Marawi, with a predominant Muslim-population of about 200,000 people in Central Mindanao, very little is known of the plight of civilians trapped inside their homes and those who have fled, estimated to be a large number. Aside from sketchy reporting on about men, women, and children exposed to a higher risk of being killed and injured, there is no actual account of those individuals and families affected and information as to where they will go to for safe evacuation. Affected families are left to decide, with insufficient access to information and coordination mechanisms whether it is safer to stay inside their homes or evacuate while they still can. However, these families are not able to make informed decisions due to a lack of clear directions as to what their choices are for them to remain safe.
International humanitarian organization Oxfam and local partners it works with such as the Community Organizers Multiversity, Rural Development Institute of Sultan Kudarat and Sustainable Integrated Area Development in Mindanao Convergence for Asset Reform and Regional Development, have expressed and continue to be deeply concerned by the dire circumstances of affected communities and the urgent need to protect all civilians who are at risk. This is in the midst of an environment where the military and police are still continuing their flushing out operations to identify members of militant groups suspected to be still present in the city.
“We urge all parties to the conflict to allow providers of immediate humanitarian assistance safe and secure entry to the city and to provide adequate access to basic life-saving assistance to all families affected by the conflict following reports that all entry and exit points in the city are now locked down,” said Oxfam Country Director Daniel Sinnathamby.
“The people of Marawi have already suffered enough. It is crucial to reach and assist women, children and other vulnerable groups trapped in the city and provide them with safe routes so they can move to safe evacuation areas and receive the help and assistance they need. We request heavy weapons not be used in populated areas and ensure that every possible measure is taken to protect vulnerable and innocent civilians.”
“Along with our partners, we are closely coordinating with the national government, UN agencies and other humanitarian actors to assess needs on the ground and will be ready to support if needed and provided access “Sinnathamby added.
For more information, please contact:
Rhoda Avila, 0998-9739239