MARAWI CITY - At least 32 evacuees have already died since the conflict erupted in this city over a month ago, the chief of Lanao del Sur's health office said Monday.
Dr. Alinader Minalang, head of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said the common causes of death among evacuees are diarrhea, severe dehydration, pneumonia and stroke.
Aside from the 32 deaths, he said, they have recorded at least 40,000 evacuees getting ill due to the conditions in the evacuation centers.
"Kahit anong gawin natin sa evacuation center talagang hirap sila. Gusto na nila makabalik para maayos ang tulugan, kainan, and mental health. Masyado na silang stressed," he added.
Out of 300,000 individually displaced persons, at least 30,000 are in evacuation centers while the others are staying at the homes of their relatives in nearby cities and towns.
Dr. Minalang, meanwhile, denied reports that there is a cholera outbreak in some evacuation centers. He said at least 9 evacuees tested positive for cholera but they were able to contain it.
Residents of the besieged city are not yet allowed to go back to their homes even as some of the areas there have been taken back by the military from occupying terrorists.
"Kahit maraming cleared area, nasa clearing ops status tayo. Baka may sasabay na Maute na magre-reside sa mga bahay-bahay na 'yun," said Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman.
The official added that based on the security briefing they received, terrorists have left explosive devices and booby traps, some can be triggered remotely, in several areas.
The death toll in Marawi has already increased to 507 as the crisis enters its 50th day. Of the total number of deaths, 379 are from the Maute group, 89 from government troops and 39 are civilians.