Manila / Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is concerned for the safety of nearly 2,000 residents who remain trapped in Marawi city in the southern Philippines. After ten days of fighting, the number of casualties continues to grow.
“We’re extremely worried about the residents who’ve not been able to leave their homes because of the fighting and those people who’re reportedly being held against their will. The number of civilian casualties is mounting,” said the head of the ICRC in the Philippines, Pascal Porchet,
“Targeting civilians is prohibited under international humanitarian law (IHL) and precautions must be taken to protect them during military operations. We urge all those involved in the fighting to protect civilians. We hope that the people being held are being treated humanely and we call for their released. We stand ready to serve as a neutral intermediary to evacuate civilians caught up in the fighting.”
The ICRC has been trying to negotiate safe access to the trapped civilians in Marawi by talking to all parties to the conflict.
Since the onset of the fighting, the ICRC has been on the ground, assisting the population. Together with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the ICRC has distributed aid to more than 10,000 displaced people, provided access to clean water and enhanced the capacity of six local health facilities to provide basic health care to thousands of people. The ICRC has also transported nearly 600 people out of the city.