marawi

Marawi was once one of the most picturesque cities in the Philippines.

About half of it is now charred concrete and skeletons of buildings, the effects of 154 days of air strikes and artillery by the military, and booby traps the rebels laid everywhere to keep them at bay.

In 2017, pro-Islamic State militants took over Marawi City in a bid to carve out their own "Wilayah", or province, forcing nearly 100,000 people to flee in what became the Philippine military's toughest and longest conflict since World War Two.

 

Published in Reuters’ Wider Image, 2019.

©Reuters

 
 
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It’s been two years since the battle was won, but thousands of families remain in limbo, living in temporary shelters and plastic tents. Many have no source of income.

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"We had a comfortable life before. Now we live in between shelters, enduring heat, the lack of water, the lack of everything."

Acampong, a local government official, left his three-storey lakeside house with his family of eight.

They now live in a tiny temporary housing unit on the city's outskirts, competing with thousands of families for water and other basic utilities.

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"Every day, it's like this. Waiting and waiting, as if waiting for death."