Save the Children Philippines will send humanitarian response teams to Sorsogon and Northern Samar to distribute life-saving emergency items to thousands of families who were left homeless and with no access to food and clean water, and thousands of children missing out on school in the wake of the devastation of Typhoon Kammuri (local name: Tisoy).
Initial reports from Save the Children rapid assessment teams indicated that the two provinces, which were in the direct path of Typhoon Kammuri, sustained the worst damage with more than 100,000 families left homeless.
According to the government, classes were suspended in 30,705 schools across 12 regions that sustained severe damage. In Sorsogon and Northern Samar, around 2.8 million are missing out on classes due to extensive damage to public schools.
Save the Children Philippines teams will distribute this week plastic sheets that can be used as temporary shelters, family hygiene kits, household essentials, and water kits.
Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines, said natural calamities take a heavy toll on children who undergo psychosocial stress when they lose homes and miss out on classes.
“Poverty incidence is high in those provinces and natural calamities further aggravate the residents' situation,” said Muyot. “Children cannot wait. They need immediate access to clean water, hygiene facilities, and to be able to resume classes.”
He said children’s rights to proper healthcare, access to education, and protection from violence must be ensured at all times, especially during emergencies.
“The resumption of classes in times of calamities is critical to address the psychosocial stress of affected children as it re-establishes routine and brings a semblance of normalcy,” said Muyot.
Jerome Balinton, Humanitarian Manager of Save the Children Philippines, said that part of the organization’s response is to provide back-to-school kits to children whose supplies were washed away by the typhoon.
“Families of these children, mostly farmers and fishermen who lost homes and livelihood, will have no capacity to buy new school supplies and no resources to send children to schools,” Balinton said.
In Sorsogon, at least 42,884 homes in 15 towns were damaged by the typhoon, of which 7,000 were flattened since they are made of light materials, according to the provincial government.
Most of the families who were left homeless live in coastal towns which experienced devastating winds, storm surges, and flooding.
At least 13 schools in Sorsogon sustained major damage, and teaching materials were soaked in flood, making it difficult to resume classes. The remaining classrooms in the province are used as evacuation centers.
In Northern Samar, the humanitarian team of Save the Children reported that 8 of the 24 towns remain isolated due to massive destruction in roads and infrastructures. The remaining 16 towns, however, reported extensive damage to up to 57,208 houses, of which 6,842 were flattened by the strong winds and flooding.
At least 36 schools in Northern Samar were severely damaged making it difficult for children to resume classes.
The Philippines ranks 2nd in the Global Climate Risk Index of 2020, experiencing the most powerful typhoons. Highly industrialized countries are not spared, with Japan ranking first in suffering extreme weather events and Germany ranking third.
Save the Children Philippines advocated the passage of Republic Act 10821 or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act that directs national and local government agencies to implement and sustain comprehensive emergency program to protect children from disasters and emergencies.
The law limits the use of classrooms as evacuation centers to a maximum of 15 days to allow learners to resume classes.
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