In May 2017, nearly 1,000 pro-ISIS gunmen seized Marawi City in a failed attempt to create a permanent stronghold for militants affiliated with the Islamic State in the Philippines. The battle to retake the city lasted for five months, displaced over 200,000 people, and resulted in over 1,000 deaths. The fighting ended in October, but the city still remains in ruins, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) now face the daunting task of clearing the city of improvised explosive devises (IEDs) and other remnants of the battle so that people can safely return to rebuild.
Clearing the city of explosive material is the first step in what will certainly be a long and arduous rebuilding process. A US Marine Corps team advising and assisting the AFP in their clearing operations has identified the critical need for basic and specialized explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) equipment to safely clear the city. While their Filipino counterparts are experienced EOD technicians, they lack the equipment needed for clearing operations of this scale. The tools needed include: headlamps to navigate the intricate tunnel system ISIS created during the siege, shovels to assist with exposing unexploded bombs, and specialized equipment to safely detonate the remaining IEDs.
With your generous support, US forces will be able to better assist and train their partners, the AFP will be able to safely clear the city, and families will be able to return to their homes in order to rebuild. This effort will ultimately save lives – both military and civilian.