As clashes between ISIS-linked terrorists and Philippine troops continue, residents of Marawi city suffer from the chaos that has disrupted their lives, especially the children.
In one of CBN’s relief operations, our news team met a 12-yr-old boy who got separated from his parents in the crossfire.
12-yr-old Jamael told us he and his mother were buying food in the market of Marawi, when suddenly a gun battle erupted. A stampede ensued and that’s when Jamael was separated from his mother.
"I ran where all the people were running, but my mother went the other way. I walked for more than one hour. I was so scared and so tired. And so I asked help from a lady," he said.
The woman, Aslia Calima said she was concerned for Jamael's safety, so she brought him along as she fled the city that was under siege by the ISIS-linked Maute terrorists.
"I saw the boy wandering on the road and I pitied him because he was lost, Aslia explained. "We rode the rescue truck and sought refuge in a relative's house outside Marawi."
Jamael is worried about his family, especially now that the Maute group has occupied their village.
"I don't know what happened to my family. I always think about them. I hope they are safe because they said that the Maute is now in our town," he said.
The people of Aslia’s village are taking care of Jamael until his family is found.
Many of those in harm's way fled to the homes of relatives instead of the big evacuation centers. Relief efforts are focused on evacuation centers, so the majority of those in homes are neglected.
That is why CBN Humanitarian is reaching out to home-based evacuees who also need help.
Meals are prepared for the families and given as they end the day’s Ramadan fast. Rice is also distributed to the evacuees staying in the mosque.
Aslia and Jamael are happy to receive food, slippers, and loom bands.
"This is really the first time that an organization extended help to us. Thank you very much," she said.
The loom bands were a big hit with the children. For a short while, they helped them take their minds off the war. And the children even made their own bracelets, headbands, and necklaces out of the loom bands.
"Thank you CBN for the loom bands and the slippers. I will share them with my siblings when I see them again," Jamael told us.
"I hope the war will end soon and that it will never happen again. Because war separates families. "