MANILA, June 6 (Xinhua) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has appealed to the Philippine military and the militants clashing in the southern Philippine Marawi city to spare the civilians, the agency said on Tuesday.
The ICRC said civilian lives were at stake as the number of casualties continued to grow.
"We are extremely concerned about the residents who could not leave their homes because of the fighting, and also those who are being reportedly held against their will," Pascal Porchet, head of the delegation of the ICRC in the Philippines said, adding the agency was "deeply worried about reports of civilians being killed."
"We urge all those involved in the fighting to protect civilian lives, and are hopeful that those held against their will are being treated humanely and will be released," Porchet said.
He said the aid agency "stands ready to serve as a neutral intermediary to evacuate civilians caught between the fighting,"
The ICRC said around 200,000 people have fled the hostilities in Marawi City, seeking safety in evacuation centers or with relatives. "The need for food, clean water, health care and sanitation is going as authorities try to cope with the sudden influx of evacuees," the ICRC said.
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