To survive, they ate porridge out of the scanty rice left in their kitchen and drunk from the rainwater they had collected in their backyard.

Estrillita, 35, a mother of nine, managed to stay alive for 12 days in their house in the town of Mokado Colony, Marawi City, without any food supply, during the siege. Estrillita was with her three young children and her husband then.

Marawi Crisis

Estrillita at the Maria Cristina Gym

The young mother shared that since they were used to “rido” (a Maranao term commonly used in Mindanao to refer to clan feuds), they did not evacuate quickly. Since there is also no communications and electricity in the town, they never knew it was already a clash between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Maute terrorist group.

On their 9th day, while doing chores in their house, Estrillita sustained cuts on her shoulder and feet because of splinters due to the siege happening outside. Adrenaline rushed, she was able to remove the splinter on her feet but she cannot extract the one from her shoulder so she just covered it with a cloth.

Marawi Crisis

While the clashes continued outside and because their food supplies are already running out, they decided to go out and walk for about 3 kilometers to the outside of Marawi City despite the danger. They were not able to bring anything with them except for themselves.

In the town of Balo-i, they took refuge in the house of a friend. There, they heard of Operation Blessing’s efforts for the home-based evacuees. She received the proper treatment for her wounds, through the help of local doctors.

Trauma can be seen through Estrillita and her family’s face. She cannot even smile while talking to the disaster response team.

Marawi Crisis

Through the Listening Ministry, local volunteers helped them cope up with their experiences. Her children were somehow given new smiles and comfort through making necklaces and bracelets out of the loom bands.

After three weeks of fleeing away from the violent clashes, authorities have been reporting different illnesses and a number of deaths caused by the stress of the war, diarrhea, and fever. Help us bring quality healthcare to them! SEND MY HELP NOW