In May 2017, a battle broke out between the Philippine defence and security forces and Islamic State (IS)-affiliated militants in Marawi City during an attempt to capture the then IS emir in Southeast Asia. The clash escalated quickly into a governmentled siege that lasted until October 2017. The city was left in ruins, many locals were killed or harmed, and up to 98 per cent of the total population were forcibly displaced, leading to serious humanitarian consequences. The 2017 Marawi Conflict highlights the unique challenges of governing human-induced disasters — a dynamic process involving multiple actors working with each other at different levels and scales to jointly reduce and manage disasters caused by human action or inaction. In such a context, national militaries tend to dominate the response, security measures usually overrule civilian arrangements, and aid workers often face higher security risks and restrictions to humanitarian access. The conflict also emphasises the urgent need to re-assess the applicability of traditional disaster risk management (DRM) practices in densely populated urban areas and the impact of rapidly evolving technologies on humanitarian assistance.
From October to December 2019, the RSIS Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Programme conducted desk research and key informant interviews to examine disaster governance issues during and right after the 2017 Marawi Conflict. Disaster governance systems are effective when they enable assistance to reach those who are most in need, promote dialogue and cooperation among various actors, and facilitate inclusive approaches that consider different stakeholder interests. This report summarises the main challenges, good practices, and key opportunities relevant to protecting and assisting vulnerable populations caught in the midst of battle. It presents the (i) tactical issues of security and access in providing aid and relief, (ii) operational issues concerning urban environments and information operations, and (iii) strategic issues relating to jurisdictional overlaps, civil-military relations, gender perspectives, and the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in disaster governance. Finally, it offers policy recommendations for enhancing the governance of human-induced disasters in the Philippines and Southeast Asia in light of emerging threats, and how the governance efforts could potentially interact with other risks in the region.
Country and Region Studies / Non-Traditional Security / Policy Reports / Regionalism and Multilateralism / Southeast Asia and ASEAN
Last updated on 23/04/2020