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Politics

Marawi's ruins a reminder of Islamic State's devastating reach

Updated : May 21, 2019 09:57 AM IST

Two years ago, pro-Islamic State militants took over 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. 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. Hundreds of militants, 165 soldiers and at least 45 civilians were killed in the five-month conflict. President Rodrigo Duterte in October 2017 declared the city liberated, and its rehabilitation officially underway. But there is little sign of progress. Except for stray dogs and soldiers on guard, Marawi's commercial centre has been abandoned. There is no sign of the promised rehabilitation. Thousands of people are in limbo following a conflict that no one saw coming. Most are jobless and dependent on relief goods.

Noronisah Laba Gundarangin, 40, lines up to vote at a makeshift polling precinct in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Noronisah Laba Gundarangin, 40, lines up to vote at a makeshift polling precinct in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Marie Dalama Acampong, 37, fills containers with water at the only water source near the school-turned-evacuation center in Mipaga, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Marie Dalama Acampong, 37, fills containers with water at the only water source near the school-turned-evacuation center in Mipaga, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A picture shows the Acampong family after evacuating from Marawi in 2017, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A picture shows the Acampong family after evacuating from Marawi in 2017, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Marie Dalama Acampong, 37, carries her one-year-old daughter Norlaila at the school-turned-evacuation center in Mipaga, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Marie Dalama Acampong, 37, carries her one-year-old daughter Norlaila at the school-turned-evacuation center in Mipaga, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Girls carry water containers to be filled at an evacuation camp for families displaced by the Marawi siege, in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Girls carry water containers to be filled at an evacuation camp for families displaced by the Marawi siege, in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A boy carries a basin filled with water at an evacuation camp for families displaced by the Marawi siege, in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A boy carries a basin filled with water at an evacuation camp for families displaced by the Marawi siege, in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A family takes a nap in a tent at an evacuation camp for families displaced by the Marawi siege, in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A family takes a nap in a tent at an evacuation camp for families displaced by the Marawi siege, in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Marie Dalama Acampong, 37, and her daughter Shieka, 15, carry containers filled with water at the school-turned-evacuation center in Mipaga, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Marie Dalama Acampong, 37, and her daughter Shieka, 15, carry containers filled with water at the school-turned-evacuation center in Mipaga, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Containers are lined up beside a water tank at an evacuation camp in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Containers are lined up beside a water tank at an evacuation camp in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Housing units for families displaced by the Marawi siege stand in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Housing units for families displaced by the Marawi siege stand in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Mohammad Ali Acampong, 42, poses for a portrait with his family in a school-turned-evacuation center at Mipaga, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Mohammad Ali Acampong, 42, poses for a portrait with his family in a school-turned-evacuation center at Mipaga, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Mohammad Ali Acampong, 42, bathes his son in Rurug Agus, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Mohammad Ali Acampong, 42, bathes his son in Rurug Agus, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Dilapidated structures are seen at the most affected war-torn area of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Dilapidated structures are seen at the most affected war-torn area of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Mohammad Ali Acampong's children pass time in a school-turned-evacuation center in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Mohammad Ali Acampong's children pass time in a school-turned-evacuation center in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Asnia Muloc Sandiman, 25, shows a photo of a dress she made using a sewing machine provided by the government, in her family's tent at an evacuation camp in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Asnia Muloc Sandiman, 25, shows a photo of a dress she made using a sewing machine provided by the government, in her family's tent at an evacuation camp in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Asnia Muloc Sandiman, 25, works with a sewing machine provided by the government, in her family's tent at an evacuation camp for families displaced by the Marawi siege, in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Asnia Muloc Sandiman, 25, works with a sewing machine provided by the government, in her family's tent at an evacuation camp for families displaced by the Marawi siege, in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A dilapidated car and establishment are seen at the most affected war-torn area of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A dilapidated car and establishment are seen at the most affected war-torn area of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
The dilapidated Saint Mary's Cathedral is seen in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
The dilapidated Saint Mary's Cathedral is seen in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Noronisah Laba Gundarangin, 40, sits inside her sister's home in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Noronisah Laba Gundarangin, 40, sits inside her sister's home in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Mohammad Ali Acampong, 42, poses at the land where his house stood before the war, during a scheduled visit for IDPs at the most affected area of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Mohammad Ali Acampong, 42, poses at the land where his house stood before the war, during a scheduled visit for IDPs at the most affected area of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Mohammad Ali Acampong, 42, and his family breakfast with rice, chicken, and pineapples during ramadan in their temporary shelter in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Mohammad Ali Acampong, 42, and his family breakfast with rice, chicken, and pineapples during ramadan in their temporary shelter in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Mohammad Ali Acampong, 42, prays inside a mosque at Mipaga, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Mohammad Ali Acampong, 42, prays inside a mosque at Mipaga, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Abdul Gani, 49, works with a sewing machine as his children and nephews watch TV in a tent at an evacuation camp for families displaced by the Marawi siege, in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Abdul Gani, 49, works with a sewing machine as his children and nephews watch TV in a tent at an evacuation camp for families displaced by the Marawi siege, in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A soldier walks on the rooftop of the war-torn Grand Mosque in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A soldier walks on the rooftop of the war-torn Grand Mosque in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Weeds have grown at the bullet-riddled Grand Mosque in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Weeds have grown at the bullet-riddled Grand Mosque in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A painting of a mother and a child hangs on a wall at a bullet-riddled structure in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A painting of a mother and a child hangs on a wall at a bullet-riddled structure in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A class schedule is seen on a wall spray-painted with
A class schedule is seen on a wall spray-painted with "ISIS" at a school in the most affected war-torn area of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A soldier walks out of a destroyed structure at the most affected war-torn area of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
A soldier walks out of a destroyed structure at the most affected war-torn area of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur province, Philippines, May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
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