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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

ChildFund ready to respond to Typhoon Bopha

UPDATE: ChildFund Philippines reports that all ChildFund-participating families and children are accounted for, and damage in these communities is minimal. Our local partners have resumed normal activities and continue to monitor their respective areas and the situation of children and families.

The Philippines has been hit by its 16th typhoon this year, with Typhoon Bopha causing thousands of families to flee their homes on Mindanao island and in the Visayas. The death toll has risen to at least 238, with hundreds of people missing.

Following a government alert, more than 50,000 people evacuated their homes ahead of the storm and spent the night in emergency shelters. Having experienced the devastating Typhoon Washi only last December, there were almost 1,000 evacuation centres established prior to Bopha’s landfall.

ChildFund Philippines has deployed an emergency response team to assess the situation and local partners are monitoring their respective areas. We will provide further updates as soon as more information comes to hand.

ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence says: “It is devastating to see these communities being uprooted yet again and our hearts go out to the children and families who are affected. ChildFund stands ready to assist as we did following Typhoon Washi and the floods in August.

“The early action taken to evacuate people very likely saved many lives and shows the value of being prepared for disasters such as this. This is why organisations like ChildFund are increasingly working with communities on disaster risk reduction efforts.

“We ask our supporters who sponsor in the Philippines to remain patient – we are not yet able to provide information about communities in which sponsored children reside but will provide more details as they come to hand.”

Following Typhoon Washi, ChildFund assisted children and families in some of the worst-affected areas of Mindanao for six months until June 2012. Thanks to donations raised through Project Humanity, ChildFund was able to deliver food and non-food items to 2,000 families living in evacuation centres and relocation camps, including rice, dried fish, soap, blankets, nappies and school supplies.

ChildFund also established 35 child-centred spaces in the evacuation centres and camps, and with the help of over 200 youth and parent volunteers from the community, provided ‘normalising activities’ for children such as group play, games, art, song and dance. Over 6,000 children benefited from these activities.

In August, the Philippines was again hit by typhoons and flooding, with a State of Emergency declared in parts of the country – mainly in and around the capital, Manila. ChildFund provided over 1,200 affected families with food and safe drinking water, and over 2,200 families with items such as mats, blankets, first aid kits, hygiene kits and roof repair materials. In addition, 573 children who lost school materials in the floods were given new school supplies and 392 children received new shoes and uniforms.

Ongoing work includes a livelihood recovery program to help families get back on their feet, and play and learning activities for children in 26 child-centred spaces. Thank you to our Project Humanity partners and those who generously donated to our Philippines Flood Emergency Appeal for making this possible.

Photo: Residents retrieve their belongings after their house was destroyed by a fallen tree caused by Typhoon Bopha in Cagayan de Oro City (Reuters/Stringer, courtesy the Thomson Reuters Foundation – AlertNet)

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