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In less than a year, this 13-year-old boy lost his home twice.
In 2017, he and his family were displaced by the Marawi Crisis, an armed conflict between a local group and government forces. Alongside thousands of other residents, Abdulrahman was forced to leave everything behind.
The young boy then found a new home and school in Munai, Lanao del Norte.
“The day the fighting broke out in Marawi City, I went with my family to Munai to be with relatives and prepare for the start of Ramadan,” Abdulrahman said in his mother tongue. “We left in the morning, and in the afternoon we received news about what happened in Marawi. We were scared for our other relatives who were left there.”
“Since then, we’ve stayed here in Munai and have not returned to Marawi,” he continued.
Abdulrahman was happy to find safety in his new home. Unfortunately, it did not last.
The 5th grader once again lost everything. His house was engulfed by floods caused by Typhoon Vinta (Tembin), washing away many of his belongings.
“I was scared when Typhoon Vinta came. I saw houses submerged. The water came fast,” Abdulrahman recalled.
“It was around 12 noon. I was in the house with my aunt. The flood subsided around 3 or 4pm. It was about as high as a person—maybe even higher,” he described.
Abdulrahman is just one of the many who lost everything to Vinta.
Typhoon Vinta brought heavy rainfall that caused flash floods and landslides in the Southern Philippines, affecting nearly 166,327 families across regions MIMAROPA, VII, IX, X, XI, XII, ARMM, and CARAGA.
Vinta destroyed homes, forcing more than 18,000 families to stay in evacuation centers.
Overall, 471,051 children were affected as of January 18, 2018.
“Our belongings got wet. Only some of our clothes remained,” said Abdulrahman. “Other things like plates, pots, and chairs got swept away by the flood.”
Despite everything, Abdulrahman says he prefers to stay in Munai. “Because I’m afraid another war might happen in Marawi, but I’m also still scared that another typhoon might come.”
“My studies here are going well. My favorite subject is math,” Abdulrahman shared. “I would like to be an engineer someday so that I can build a house for my family.”
“I have one brother who is 12 years old. He also studies in this school, we are classmates,” he added.
At such a young age, Abdulrahman already witnessed and survived two disasters.
His school, the Munai Central School, was damaged by Vinta. Its classrooms were knocked down by flash floods, while the school grounds are currently covered in thick mud and debris. (READ: Lost my school to the Marawi Crisis, then again to Vinta)
Classes resumed on January 3, but many classrooms remain unusable. And a number of children are yet to return to school – possibly because of Vinta’s effects on them. Some are showing signs of distress.
Rebuild after Vinta
On December 22, 2017, Vinta made landfall in Davao Oriental.
A total of 164 persons were reported dead, while 176 were reported missing. This includes children: 31 were confirmed dead, and 30 were reported missing.
Most of the casualties and missing persons were reported in the hardest-hit provinces of Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Zamboanga del Norte. (READ: A young girl survives Vinta)
Several houses, especially those made of light materials, were either damaged or completely swept away. Meanwhile, many schools were either damaged or covered in mud.
School supplies, equipment, records, and other learning materials were submerged in water.
Save the Children Philippines deployed its emergency response team to Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. We’re providing health, education, sanitation, hygiene, protection, and psychosocial support for affected children.
Our team is also closely working with local partners and government agencies in assessing damages among schools, as well the situation and welfare of families.
We've also started distributing Back-to-School Kits and setting up Temporary Learning Spaces so that children may safely and freely continue their education.
Support our Response Operations. Donate today, save lives.