Getting children back into school after emergencies
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Typhoon Vinta took Christmas away from many Filipino children.
“I was in our house with my mother and two other siblings when the water began to rise,” Junaisah said in her mother tongue.
The 13-year-old girl recollected memories of her near-death experience. She and her family in Lanao del Norte survived the flash floods caused by Typhoon Vinta (International Name: Tembin).
“My father and eldest sibling were out because they were working in the field. We got out of the house but the flood had already reached us,” she continued. “I was scared.”
“We left all our belongings and tried to climb up a hill near our house, but the current was too strong and we got swept away.”
Junaisah nearly drowned had she not been rescued by bystanders. “I got hurt but not seriously injured,” she explained.
Unfortunately, Junaisah’s mother hurt her leg and now has a hard time walking.
The flood came around 11am and subsided around 4pm, according to Junaisah.
“It took our house away. Nothing was left,” she said. This was how she and her family welcomed the new year.
Homes made of light materials – such as coco lumber, nipa, and bamboo – were totally or heavily damaged due to flash floods. (READ: Lost my home twice)
Until today, some houses remain submerged in mud. Several families have lost most of their belongings, from cookware to clothes.
Classes were supposed to resume on January 3 but Junaisah’s school was badly damaged, hence classes might be delayed.
“I think I will just stay home in the meantime because the other schools are far away,” the 6th grader admitted.
Tropical Storm Vinta made landfall in Davao Oriental on December 22, 2017.
While Vinta did not bring particularly strong winds, it brought heavy rainfall that caused flooding and landslides among several cities and municipalities in the Southern Philippines.
Vinta affected nearly 161,000 families across eight regions. It forced more than 18,000 families to stay in over 200 evacuation centers.
Overall, 96,600 children were affected.
Around 73 schools in Lanao del Sur have been flooded, a local division office reported. The schools’ equipment, learning materials, and furniture were either partially or heavily damaged.
Meanwhile, 33 schools in Lanao del Norte have been reported to be flooded and partially damaged.
Some schools are currently inaccessible due to damaged roads and bridges. (READ: Lost my school to the Marawi Crisis, then again to Vinta)
Debris of large boulders and tree logs are also scattered in school grounds, posing risks to students. This requires the use of heavy clearing equipment.
Junaisah and her family are now staying in a classroom at an elementary school, together with other displaced families.
The school where they’re staying at, however, is among the most severely damaged schools in the area. Two of its classrooms were completely destroyed by the flood, and debris are everywhere.
How children are affected
Vinta not only left houses in ruins, but has also left children with distressing memories.
Children who had to swim to survive the flash floods are now in hospitals. Some are showing signs of distress.
Reported changes in their behaviour include:
- telling their parents to evacuate whenever it rains
- uneasiness without their parents
- sleeplessness at night
In the aftermath of Vinta, 31 children have been confirmed dead. Meanwhile, 30 others have been reported missing.
Cases of fever, colds, cough, stomach aches, and loose bowel movement are common among affected communities.
Water pipelines are also potentially contaminated due to the damages caused by the flash flood.
Rebuild after Vinta
Save the Children aims to help 10,000 children affected by Tropical Storm Vinta.
We’re providing education, child protection, water sanitation, and hygiene support. We’re also in close coordination with local governments and implementing government agencies.
Education remains a top priority.
Several schools situated near rivers had either been swept away or are currently covered in thick and hardened mud. Classroom chairs, tables, computers, blackboards, as well as school records have been swept away by the flash floods.
Help us Rebuild after Vinta. These children need us now more than ever.
Support our response operations. Donate today, save lives.
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