MANILA - Government assessors will take stock of damage in Marawi City's main battle zone after the military ended one of the final phases of its operations, an official said Sunday.
Troops concluded "mopping-up" activities some 2 weeks after it ended combat operations against the Islamic State-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf extremists in the southern lakeshore city, said Civil Defense assistant secretary Kristoffer James Purisima.
Some 200 trained assessors will collect the dead and inspect the damage to basic services and structures in 24 barangays inside the war zone, he said.
Their findings, which is due in 2 weeks, will be used as basis for rehabilitation plans for the city, he said.
"Nagtapos na po ang mopping up operations ng AFP doon sa main battle area na tinatawag. Binigyan na po tayo ng clearance na simulan ang post-conflict needs assessment sa main battle area," Purisima told DZMM.
(The Armed Forces of the Philippines has completed mopping up operations in the main battle area. We have been given clearance to start the post-conflict needs assessment there.)
Some 95 percent of the building in the battle area, however, have been reduced to mere "shells" of steel and concrete, he said.
More than 1,100 people - mostly militants - were killed in the fighting in Marawi. The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.
Some of the 350,000 displaced have returned to their homes, but residents are still prohibited from returning to the battle area, said Purisma.