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.