Typhoon Haiyan One Month Later: Protecting the Rights and Meeting the Needs of Children
One month after Typhoon Haiyan – the largest storm ever to make landfall – ripped through the Philippines, Plan has provided life-saving aid to thousands of families and protected the rights of vulnerable children.
The typhoon has affected over 14.9 million people, damaged or destroyed 1.2 million homes and displaced more than 4.1 million people – including an estimated 1.8 million children – thousands of them now living in evacuation centers.
Learning from the Past
Building on lessons learned in the past, Plan’s staff had prepared for the typhoon before it even struck, readying thousands of clean water kits and tarpaulins for emergency shelter.
Since Haiyan made landfall on November 8th, Plan’s teams have been working around the clock delivering life-saving aid in some of the most remote and difficult to reach communities, including food, emergency shelter, clean water, and essential sanitation and hygiene supplies.
Additional work is focusing on child protection and child-centered projects. This includes providing ‘emotional first aid’ to children who have survived the typhoon, creating safe play and educational areas, closely monitoring increases in child trafficking, child labor, and potential abuse of boys and girls in the aftermath of the disaster.
Plan has worked in the Philippines for over 50 years, responded to multiple emergencies, and is familiar with the needs of children and communities following a disaster.
“While our immediate focus has been on saving lives and providing for survivors’ most basic needs, we are also very worried that hundreds upon hundreds of schools have been damaged, destroyed, and are being used as evacuation centers,” says Carin van der Hor, Plan Philippines Country Director. “This will have grave consequences on children’s education, and it’s important that we provide for temporary education while communities recover, and that we get children back into their schools as quickly as possible.”
One student who’s been unable to attend classes since the typhoon hit is 12-year-old Jhomelyn from Eastern Samar. Her school remains closed, serving as a temporary shelter for dozens of families who have nowhere else to go.
“I wash the dishes, wash the clothes, clean the floor, and hang up the clothes,” she says. “I miss going to school."
Plan was the first organization to reach her village and distribute relief items, including tarpaulins for shelter. She told Plan that the only thing that remains of her home is the floor.
“It was very sad because my house was destroyed by the big waves,” she says, referring to the massive storm surge that left almost nothing intact. “The only thing I have left is one pen...my things are very important for school. I miss my books and my notebooks.”
After assessing the damage done to impacted communities, Plan has announced a 5-year operation to meet survivors’ immediate needs that will then transition into a medium-term recovery that will enable them to rebuild their communities. Plan aims to support close to 265,000 people – including 105,000 children – across the four provinces of Eastern and Western Samar, Leyte, and Cebu.
“Children and young people have been hit hard by the typhoon,” says van der Hor. “Oftentimes we see them only as victims of disaster, but they are also resilient and creative, and sometimes even more effective at coping with change than adults. We are committed to protecting the rights of these children as they move on from this disaster, ensuring their voices are being heard and their needs met.”
You Can Help!
Donate to the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund and help us deliver aid to the children and families who need it the most!