Marawi crisis takes a toll on IDPs' health

Lanao del Sur (CNN Philippines, July 1) — With the Marawi crisis now on its 40th day, authorities in Lanao del Sur worry about the future of the city's displaced people, with the war taking its toll physically, emotionally, and mentally.

The conflict has prompted around 300,000 residents of the city to evacuate in nearby areas, some crammed in evacuation centers with difficult living conditions, resulting in health issues.

Marawi Crisis Management Committee spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong on Friday revealed the top five ailments among evacuees, which include upper respiratory tract infection, hypertension, viral influenza, allergic dermatitis, and acute respiratory infection.

"Itong nangyayari sa atin, itong nararamdaman natin, (This thing that happened to us, what we are experiencing) is just the tip of the iceberg. Once the bridge is open and once the fighting is over, the real crisis of the Maranao people will commence," Adiong said.

READ: Duterte vows to rebuild Marawi

The troubles that come with living as refugees are taking a toll on the evacuees' mental health as well. Authorities said 2,500 people have shown early symptoms of schizophrenia.

Adiong said, however, the number of psychiatrists in the area able to help patients is insufficient to attend to all those in need.

As the evacuees are living on donations, the Lanao del Sur Provincial Government is appealing for help in providing healthier food, water, medicine, and vaccines for the displaced people of Marawi.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Friday 44 civilians have been killed by terrorists, while 1,713 have been rescued. He added the conflict has led to the death of 82 government troopers and 303 terrorists.

READ: Marawi mayor: Rehab plans for the city under way

In a Mindanao Hour briefing that aired on Saturday, Abella said the government forces continue clearing the area, as they inch closer toward liberating Marawi.

"Military offensive operations continue and portions of the four remaining barangays remain problematic," Abella said in Mindanao Hour.

He added rehabilitation programs are already in place for the city, including the Bangon Marawi Plan aimed at both short-term and long-term recovery.

"Inter-agency meetings and consultations preparatory to the rehabilitation, reconstruction and rebuilding of Marawi when hostilities end have begun and are ongoing," Abella said.

Story revised on July 2 to reflect change in headline.