U.S. votes $15m aid for besieged Marawi City

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SEPTEMBER 5, 2017 – The U.S. said on Tuesday that it was providing 15 million dollars in aid for the southern Philippine city of Marawi, which has been ruined by months of fighting between troops and Islamic State-allied militants.

U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, said the assistance would support emergency relief operations and long-term rehabilitation programmes for Marawi City, 800 kilometres south of Manila.

“We all look forward to the end of the crisis, and the end of the fighting and suffering,” he said at a news conference in Manila.

“We have been and will continue to support the Philippine government’s efforts to deal with the crisis,’ Kim said.

He said about a quarter of the assistance would be earmarked for the delivery of such relief supplies as safe drinking water, hygiene kits and shelter materials for more than 600,000 people displaced by the conflict in Marawi City.

The rest of the aid would focus on restoring basic public services such as health care, water and electricity, kick-starting livelihood projects, and promoting community programmes to counter violent extremism.

Troops are making a push to end the conflict that began on May 23 when hundreds of militants attacked Marawi City after government forces tried to arrest a local leader of the Islamic State terrorist movement.

The conflict has left more than 840 people dead, including 136 soldiers and 620 militants.

The terrorists have also executed 45 civilians, while 40 people have died from illnesses in evacuation centres.

The fighting is now concentrated in the centre of Marawi City, where buildings, houses and other infrastructure have been destroyed amid airstrikes, heavy artillery fire and bombings during the conflict.

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