World Bulletin / News Desk
Local crisis officials have declared a "mental health crisis" among the residents, ABS-CBN news reported Thursday.
The incidence of mental disorders, according to authorities, are attributable to residents’ desperation to go home, anxiety on what awaits them when they return to Marawi, as well as the difficulties in living conditions in evacuation centers.
"This is an emerging issue right now. Mental health issues should be part of the recovery plan," Lanao del Sur Provincial Crisis Committee spokesman Zia Alonto Adiong was quoted as saying.
Among the signs manifested by the evacuees are forgetting what happened to them and answering questions with different, unrelated or out of reality answers.
Out of the over 30,000 cases recorded, 6,455 were classified as Level 2, which requires psycho-social debriefing; 24,199 as Level 3, or those in need of one-on-one treatment; and 78 cases as Level 4, where patients require medication and treatment in a designated facility, the report added.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, chairman of the Senate Health and Demography Committee, called on the Health Department on Thursday to "act swiftly and attend to the reported 'mental health crisis' in evacuation centers temporarily housing residents displaced by the ongoing war in Marawi City".
In a press release, Ejercito urged the government to "immediately dispatch a team of mental health experts to the evacuation centers," and “provide the necessary medical and counseling intervention to evacuees manifesting disturbance, and provide immediate curative measures”.
Militants from the Maute group seized Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao on May 23 which prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to impose martial law in the region which will remain in place until the year's end.
Clashes in the city have seen 539 terrorists, 122 government troops, and 45 civilians killed so far.