ChildFund reaches ravaged communities in the Philippines

ChildFund is on the ground responding to Super Typhoon Haiyan. More than 9 million people, including as many as 4.5 million children, have been impacted in the Philippines. Many are now struggling to survive without food, shelter and clean drinking water. At least 10,000 people are feared to have been killed, and thousands of survivors desperately require aid. Philippine President Benigno Aquino has declared a state of national calamity, and the UN has called for a “massive response” to the humanitarian disaster.

ChildFund is in Ormoc on Leyte Island and reports 90 per cent devastation. Erwin Galido, ChildFund’s emergency team leader, said, “There is loss of life and some looting. Food will run out here in three days. If aid doesn’t reach here very soon, people will become desperate and the situation will deteriorate.”

One of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall, Haiyan struck the coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar Nov. 8. It then headed west, sweeping through six central Philippines islands. ChildFund has finally reached communities cut off since the storm in Bacolod, Roxas City and Iloilo. Katherine Manik, ChildFund’s country director in the Philippines, said, “The full extent of the devastation is still unclear. There is great need in many communities. ChildFund’s short-term goal is to provide for the immediate needs of those impacted by the storm. We are distributing food, water and essential non-food items at evacuation camps and providing psychosocial support for children by creating Child-Centred Spaces, or safe havens, for children to gather. Children are clearly traumatised.”

ChildFund is currently focusing its response in Iloilo, Roxas, Negros Occidental and Ormoc, where we work with local partner organisations. Manik said, “With these local partners, ChildFund is in a strong position to respond to disasters. They help with the distribution of relief items for immediate needs, and they mobilise volunteers. They also support local coordination as they have strong relationships with local government units and are embedded in the local systems. Local partners are key in the emergency response.”

ChildFund has already committed funds, but much more is needed. ChildFund Australia and other members of the global ChildFund Alliance have set a goal of $10 million for response to immediate needs and long-term recovery. Funds will support those impacted, particularly children. To make a donation to assist those devastated by the typhoon, please visit: www.childfund.org.au/most-needed

ChildFund staff on the ground are available for interview.

One of the most powerful typhoons ever to hit land has torn across the Philippines, with possibly thousands of people dead and towns flattened. ChildFund staff in the Philippines report the destruction is on a massive scale, while a UN official has compared the disaster to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

At least 10,000 people are feared dead, homes and infrastructure have been wiped out and thousands of people are taking shelter in evacuation centres. More than 17 million people could be affected by the storm, which is now sweeping across Vietnam.

Leyte, Samar and Cebu in the Eastern Visayas region were among the worst-hit areas with 275kph winds and 6m waves demolishing homes, streets and an airport. ChildFund workers are on the ground assessing the damage and providing emergency relief, including safe spaces for children.

ChildFund Philippines national director Katherine Manik says: “In the areas that ChildFund Philippines operates it is estimated 10,000 children who are enrolled in our sponsorship programs have been affected. We need to get food, water and basic household items to those in need. We’re also providing child protection, including psychosocial recovery and safe spaces for children.”

ChildFund, which has worked in the Philippines for nearly 60 years, is working closely with its local partners and the government to respond. Emergency response teams have readied supplies, including emergency kits and tents, and made arrangements with local suppliers to access food and other relief items.

ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence says: “ChildFund Australia has committed emergency funds to provide immediate assistance for affected children and their families. More funds are urgently needed to support those impacted, particularly children. We are urging Australians to donate to help support thousands of children and their families who’ve lost everything in this disaster.”

If you would like to make a donations please go to:  /most-needed/ or call 1800 023 600

ChildFund staff on the ground are available for interview.