Save the Children Philippines deployed a humanitarian team to the mountainous province of Abra to conduct rapid assessment and initial response activities to children and families affected by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Northern Luzon, including the capital Metro Manila, at 8:43AM on 27 July, Wednesday.
Save the Children will be working with the local government of Abra and partners for immediate assistance to 1,000 target households which include the provision of prepositioned vital items such as household kits with basic necessities for families, tarpaulins for emergency shelters, jerry cans for storing potable water, and hygiene kits for COVID-19 prevention.
Initial assessments from local authorities and sources reported that 4 Million people, including children, were impacted by the major earthquake, of which 3.1 Million were living in affected areas while 854,200 were living in worst affected areas – among them, 135,400 are from the vulnerable population.
At least five (5) deaths and 130 people injured were recorded -with figures expected to rise in the coming days. Extensive damages to houses, public infrastructures, historical sites, and road networks have been documented. The Department of Education assessed that 8,027 schools are affected of which, 35 in 15 school division offices in Luzon sustained infrastructure damages.
The earthquake’s impact may continue to be felt as imminent aftershocks and damages are foreseen by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). Save the Children fears that thousands of affected children and their families will be displaced and that the calamity will disrupt children’s learning and put them at risk to the ongoing threats of the COVID-19 pandemic, hunger, and economic inequality.
Save the Children Philippines CEO, Atty. Albert Muyot, said:
“Disasters such as earthquakes take a heavy toll especially to children most impacted by inequality and discrimination. We call on the full and effective implementation of the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act (RA 10821) to ensure that children, pregnant and lactating mothers, and those with disabilities, are protected from all forms of harm and continuously provided with access to basic health and nutrition services, safe spaces, transitional shelters, and psychosocial interventions.”