By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY — The United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has announced an additional Php182 million ($3.5 million) aid to support the ongoing humanitarian relief in Marawi City.
“This (new aid) brings the total US government contribution to the Marawi response to nearly 1.4 billion pesos ($26.4 million),” the US embassy said in a statement.
The fresh aid will help USAID partners and humanitarian organizations to build transitional shelters for 58,000 internally displaced persons.
USAID will also coordinate with national and local government partners to expand protection services for women and children, help jumpstart the local economy through income-generating activities, and repair water and sanitation facilities, the embassy said.
“This (grant of new aid) is obviously very important work and we hope to do more in the coming years. (It manifests) the deep ties and unbreakable bond between the United States and the Philippines as friends, partners, and allies,” the embassy quoted U.S. Ambassador Sung Y. Kim as saying at a recent press conference in Manila.
Being a “key partner” of the Philippine government in the recovery, stabilization, and rehabilitation of Marawi City and its surrounding areas, the USAID has initiated works since the early stage of the city’s siege to improve conditions in evacuation centers and host communities, the embassy said.
It added that USAID’s assistance to war-torn Marawi includes “providing essential maternal, newborn, and child health supplies and services for affected populations.”
“USAID has also partnered with the World Food Programme to deliver 1.8 million kilograms of rice – enough to feed 45,000 people for four months – to families displaced by the conflict,” the embassy statement said.