As the Philippines’ government continues to free Marawi from the radical Maute group, human rights groups express concern that the airstrikes are causing “trauma” to children. Approximately 300,000 people have been displaced because the conflict in Marawi and some of those displaced persons are staying only 15 minutes away from the clash site. The sounds, frequency, and damage caused by the airstrikes are resulting in “alarming behavioral patterns” in children that are consistent with trauma. While it is impossible to eliminate trauma in the middle of a warzone, it is important to minimize the danger to innocent civilians and provide the appropriate treatment for those suffering.
07/03/2017 Philippines (UCA News) – A rights group and the Protestant National Council of Churches have accused the government of exposing children in the besieged Philippine city of Marawi to further trauma as a result of airstrikes.
They expressed “grave concern” over the “mental and psychosocial impact” of ongoing clashes between security forces and terrorist gunmen on children.
Sporadic clashes and aerial bombardments on suspected terrorist positions continue for a fifth week in Marawi as troops continue to clear the city of terrorist fighters.
The fighting has resulted in the displacement of some 300,000 people, some of whom are staying in evacuation centers only 15 minutes away from the conflict zone.
Eule Rico Bonganay, secretary-general of the Salinlahi Alliance Children’s Concerns, said most of the evacuees were displaced due to aerial bombings by the government.
“Children expressed their sadness over their displacement and their condition in the evacuation centers,” said Bonganay who was part of a National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission in Marawi.