More than 20 million children in the most populous island of Luzon face multiple risks of injury, displacement and even deaths as powerful Typhoon Goni (local name: Rolly) is set to pummel coastal and landmass areas, including capital Manila over the weekend, according to Save the Children Philippines.
Typhoon Goni is forecasted to upgrade to a super typhoon in the next 12 hours prior to its landfall in the eastern provinces of Catanduanes and Camarines early Sunday, the state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.
Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines, has called on local and national government leaders to protect the most vulnerable sector of children, pregnant and lactating mothers who face life-threatening impacts of typhoon Goni, which is expected to bring violent winds, and heavy rains that will cause storm surges and flooding in the coming days.
Luzon is home to 65 million population including 27.2 million children (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2020) which will be hit hard by the typhoon particularly Bicol region, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, and Metro Manila. Typhoon Goni is the 18th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year and the fifth in October, surpassing the PAG-ASA average of three typhoons in a month.
“Children from poor households in the coastal towns and remote provinces will bear the brunt of the impact of typhoon Goni as their homes are made of light materials that are easily destroyed by strong winds,” said Muyot.
As local governments implement pre-emptive measures, children and their families will have to stay in cramped evacuation areas, exposing them to COVID-19 and other life-threatening diseases, hunger and possible abuse and violence.
A 10-member humanitarian team from Save the Children Philippines will be deployed on Tuesday, November 3rd, to Southern and Central Luzon provinces to conduct rapid assessment of the impact of Typhoon Goni, and identify the support for children.
The child rights organization has prepositioned life-saving items including household kits with basic necessities for families, tarpaulins to build emergency shelters, and hygiene kits in stock so people can take COVID-19 preventative measures.
Both tracks and intensity of Typhoon Goni are expansive with maximum sustained winds of 215 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 265 km/h, comparable to super typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) that flattened Visayas provinces, and killed more than 6,300 people including children in November 2013.