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.