At least 4.1 million children have been affected by the super typhoon which hit the Philippines yesterday, causing widespread devastation across the Eastern and Central Visayas, and Northeast Mindanao regions of the country.
Typhoon Rai – the strongest to hit the Philippines this year – has caused widespread damage to homes and infrastructure, submerging entire villages, uprooting trees and cutting off power and water supplies.
More than 16,000 families in Caraga, the hardest-hit area, are estimated to have been evacuated from their homes, and are sheltering in cramped evacuation centers. Evacuation and rescue operations are still ongoing.
Save the Children is concerned about the welfare of children and their families who have lost their homes, and warned that children crowded into evacuation centres could be exposed to disease outbreaks such as malaria and diarrhea, as well as COVID-19.
The agency has humanitarian teams ready to deploy to the affected regions.
Jerome Balinton, Save the Children’s Humanitarian Manager in the Philippines is leading response teams on their way to the worst-affected areas. He said:
“This really is an exceptional situation – a mass evacuation event, at the same time as a global COVID-19 spike. We have seen more than 12,000 children and young people in Mindanao evacuated to cramped centers with poor hygiene and sleeping conditions. With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and the still too-low rates of COVID-19 vaccination across the country, we are particularly concerned that children and their parents will become unwell with COVID-19 and be unable to receive treatment quickly.”
Having pre-positioned critical supplies before the storm, Save the Children stands ready to provide essential items to help impacted families continue to care for their children –including household kits with basic necessities for families, tarpaulins to build emergency shelters, and hygiene kits so people can take COVID-19 preventative measures.