MARAWI CITY (UPDATED) - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) distributed on Thursday emergency cash assistance to over 500 families who have evacuated the provincial capitol here.
Each registered family is entitled to P5,000 cash assistance, but only P1,000 was given today. The remaining amount will be given in due time, according to the DSWD.
DSWD said the financial aid was supposed to be given during Ramadan but was not given in due time.
"Ang P1,000 ay intended para sa Ramadan pero hindi nakahabol. Pwede yun gamitin sa gagastusin nila na hindi nabibigay ng gobyerno. Hindi naman pangangailangan ng tao ay pagkain lang, pambili nila ng ibang bagay," said Asnaira Bunsa, of the DSWD Crisis Intervention Region 12.
Many evacuees are thankful to the DSWD but expressed the need for more assistance.
"Salamat sa [i]nyo. Kami galing kami sa Lilod, hindi kami makapasok," one evacuee said. "Kaya wala kaming gamit, kahit anong damit."
"Medyo malaking tulong ito sa mahihirap, lalo kaming mga nasiraan ng bahay," another one said.
One resident, meanwhile, expressed hopes that the crisis would soon end.
"Masakit ito sa amin dahil ito ang Islamic City of the Philippines," Taguranao Manardas said.
"This is the heart of the Islamic [City] of the Philippines," he added.
Fierce fighting, air strikes, and ground attacks again back-dropped Marawi City on the 38th day of fighting after three consecutive days of seemingly light attacks on the enemy by the military.
Bombs were again dropped near the downtown area of Marawi followed by incessant gunshots and artillery assaults. More houses and buildings were burned.
Based on photos, there's massive destruction in Barangay Banggolo. Debris from damaged buildings and houses cover the streets.
Trees in a portion of a community near the Islamic Center have also been burned down.
Clashes between government troops and Maute extremists erupted last May 23 after soldiers tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf top leader Isnilon Hapilon.
The fighting has forced thousands to flee their homes and seek shelter in evacuation centers in nearby towns.
Roberto Petronion, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sub-delegation for Mindanao, said conditions in evacuation centers are becoming more "complicated" every day due to problems of resources.
"The situation is difficult for them. Every passing day is becoming more complicated for them. Fortunately, there are also a lot of humanitarian organizations bringing in help, so we have been managing all together," Petronion told ANC Thursday.
Petronion added that more Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) are moving to different places in search of access to basic needs.
"What we observe now and that is why it is making the numbers grow a lot is the economical IDPs--people who lost access to markets, livelihood and are moving to places where they can have access to their needs," he said.
Residents displaced from conflict-torn Marawi have been reporting illnesses, including fever and diarrhea, as they were forced to stay in evacuation centers amid the ongoing government offensive against Maute terrorists in the city.
As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, government placed the death toll in Marawi City at 397, including 299 terror suspects, 71 government troops and 27 civilians.