Child Protection and Development Remain Urgent Priorities Following Typhoon Haiyan
MANILA - Six months after the largest storm to ever make landfall hit the Philippines, child protection and basic development needs remain urgent priorities for millions of children and families, according to the humanitarian organization Plan International. Plan - one of the leading agencies providing relief in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan - is emphasizing that the crucial work to rebuild communities and ensuring child protection continues, particularly as the 2014 Pacific cyclone season gets underway.
“Thanks to the support of our sponsors and the international community, we have come along way in a short time to protect children, their families, and help rebuild from the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan,” said Carin Van der Hor, Plan Philippines’ Country Director. “However, children remain particularly vulnerable and we have a lot more work to do.”
According to the United Nations, more than 3 million people have already received emergency shelter materials such as tents and tarpaulins, and almost 200,000 households were provided with construction materials and tools to help them rebuild their homes. However, more than 25,000 people are still living in temporary shelters, evacuation centers, and tent cities.
Children are particularly vulnerable and require additional protections from disease, malnutrition, and exploitation. More than 40,000 Plan-sponsored children and their families live in the affected areas.
“If a major storm were to hit the affected areas now, we could be looking at a potentially much worse situation,” said van der Hor. “The international community’s robust response and the resilience of the people of the Philippines has demonstrated how effective a coordinated response can be and how important preparedness is; in the face of another storm season, we all need to be expect the unexpected.”
The El Niño phenomenon is expected to influence weather systems in 2014, and storms in the Pacific could once again be frequent and violent. In addition to the damage wrought by severe tropical storms, the spread of infectious diseases such as dengue and measles remain a major concern.
Plan International has confirmed that there remains a funding gap of $24 million (USD) to cover relief, recovery, and rehabilitation for at least 700,000 people in the Central Philippines and is appealing to the international community for assistance.
“Preparedness works,” emphasized Van der Hor. “If Plan is able to continue rebuilding communities in the affected areas and supporting child development, we can meet the challenges that lay ahead in 2014.”
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About Plan International USA
Plan International USA is part of the Plan International Federation, a global organization that works side by side with communities in 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children and their families. Plan works at the community level to develop customized solutions and ensure long-term sustainability. Our solutions are designed up-front to be owned by communities for generations to come and range from clean water and healthcare programs to education projects and child protection initiatives. For more information, please visit www.PlanUSA.org.