U.S. aid for Marawi rehab reaches nearly P1.4B

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The United States said Thursday it is providing an additional P182 million pesos or roughly $3.5 million dollars for relief, recovery and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi, a southern city left in ruins after months of fighting between government troops and Islamic militants.

U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim said that brings Washington's total contribution to the humanitarian response to Marawi to nearly P1.4 billion pesos or $26.4 million.

"Together with our partners on the ground we will build transitional shelters, repair water and sanitation facilities, provide psycho-social support, establish safe spaces to protect women and children from exploitation and violence and also hopefully in the process help jumpstart the local economy thru income-generating activities," he said.

Kim said the additional aid will to help almost 58,000 internally displaced people in Marawi and surrounding areas.

The military said more than 1,000 people have been killed, including at least 847 militants, in the fighting that dragged on for months after ISIS-linked militants laid seige to the mosque-studded city, a center of Islamic faith in predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines.

The ambassador added he feels upbeat about the relationship between the two countries. "These recent developments demonstrate the deep ties and unbreakable bond between the United States and the Philippines," he said.

On the other hand, Kim said the U.S. remains vigilant to the continuing threats in Marawi and the whole southern Philippines.

Last January, the U.S. State Department issued a Level 2 travel advisory calling for "increased caution" in the southern Philippines. It warned its citizens not to travel to Marawi City due to "terrorism and unrest," as well as the Sulu archipelago and southern Sulu Sea for the same reasons, on top of crime.