MULTIMEDIA

Marawi: 2 years after the siege

Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

Posted at May 22 2019 01:47 PM

Two years since the Siege of Marawi, the once picturesque capital of Lanao del Sur still stands in a state of calamity.

The five-month-long armed conflict, the longest urban battle the country has faced since World War II, has displaced thousands of people who now live in evacuation camps where basic necessities such as water and utilities are hard to come by.
 
Even with an inter-agency task force called Bangon Marawi handling the reconstruction, there is little sign of progress.

Task force head Eduardo del Rosario said they face many obstacles such as debris, unexploded ordnance and unsafe structures. All these should be cleared by November with some construction to start in September.
 
Field office manager Felix Castro says they can “only go as fast as possible. We can’t make shortcuts,” adding “It takes a while in the beginning but it will be quick once it starts."
 
But it seems for a refugee like Mohammad Ali Acampong, who had finished renovating his house only a week since the battle began, the reconstruction cannot start fast enough.

"It's painful because we had nothing to do with this war. We were just caught up," he said.

"Every day, it's like this. Waiting and waiting, as if waiting for death."

Dilapidated structures are seen at the most affected war-torn area of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines on May 11, 2019. About half of it is now charred concrete and skeletons of buildings, the effects of 154 days of air strikes and artillery by the military, and booby traps the rebels laid everywhere to keep them at bay.Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

Mohammad Ali Acampong, 42, poses at the land where his house stood before the war, during a scheduled visit for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the most affected area of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Philippines on May 11, 2019. "Leaving was really painful because I had just finished renovating our house, spending about 300,000 pesos for it... and suddenly it was all gone," Acampong said.Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

A picture shows the Acampong family after evacuating from Marawi in 2017, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines,. The Acampongs now live in a tiny temporary housing unit on the city's outskirts, competing with thousands of families for water and other basic utilities.Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

A class schedule is seen on a wall spray-painted with "ISIS" at a school in the most affected war-torn area of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Philippines on May 11, 2019. The area remains abandoned two years since pro-Islamic State militants began their attacks on May 23, 2017.Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

Marie Dalama Acampong, 37, and her daughter Shieka, 15, carry containers filled with water at a school-turned-evacuation center in Mipaga, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Philippines on May 12, 2019. In December 2018, Marie Dalama applied to work as a domestic helper in Saudi Arabia, following a fight with her husband Mohammad Ali Acampong. On the day she was supposed to leave, her husband and children begged her not to go. "Sometimes I still think about leaving because we don't have a source of income. We are literally just waiting here," she said.Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

Housing units for families displaced by the Marawi siege stand in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines on May 11, 2019. Thousands of IDPs remain in limbo as they await the rehabilitation of Marawi City, two years since pro-Islamic State militants began its attacks on May 23, 2017.Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

Girls carry water containers to be filled at an evacuation camp for families displaced by the Marawi siege, in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Philippines on May 14, 2019. Water and other basic necessities are hard to come by in the evacuation camps.Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

Asnia Muloc Sandiman, 25, works with a sewing machine provided by the government, in her family's tent at an evacuation camp for families displaced by the Marawi siege. Sandiman sows made-to-order clothing and sells them online. "It's difficult to just depend on relief goods. If you really don't hustle, you won't live. I also don't think we should blame everything on the government. If I am able to work, and I am given the equipment to work, why wouldn't I?"Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

Abdul Gani, 49, works with a sewing machine as his children and nephews watch TV in a tent at an evacuation camp.Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

The dilapidated Saint Mary's Cathedral is seen in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Philippines on May 11, 2019.Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

Mohammad Ali Acampong's children pass the time in a school-turned-evacuation center in Marawi City. Acampong says "We had a comfortable life before. Now we live in between shelters, enduring heat, the lack of water, the lack of everything."Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

A soldier walks on the rooftop of the war-torn Grand Mosque in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Philippines on May 11, 2019. A cathedral was set ablaze and ransacked in one of the first places of worship destroyed during the 5-month conflict. Several mosques were severely damaged by artillery or during near-daily air strikes.Eloisa Lopez, Reuters