ChildFund continues to actively respond to the large-scale emergency in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Haiyan just a few weeks ago. Geoffrey Petkovich, ChildFund’s regional director for Asia, reports that we are very fortunate that none of the children in our programs or staff from our local partner organizations lost their lives in the disaster.
Yet, our hearts break as we continue to remember the more than 5,000 who died as a result of this super typhoon, which may prove to be the strongest storm ever to make landfall. The destruction on the ground is unbelievable, with most homes destroyed or severely damaged in the most hard-hit communities of the central, eastern and western Visayas.
The office of ChildFund’s local partner in Ormoc was heavily damaged – its roof ripped away and offices inundated by floodwaters – but despite these massive obstacles, this team was able to work with our emergency staff to set up Child-Centered Spaces. These are safe havens for children who’ve lost their homes and their normal routines.
Response to this disaster is still in its early phase, with much work needed to be done by ChildFund and all the organizations that are working with the Philippines government on the ground. I wanted to share some of what ChildFund has been able to accomplish and our goals for the coming months.
ChildFund was the first organization to establish Child-Centered Spaces in the storm-impacted areas. We were also the first international organization to deliver food and non-food items to a number of communities initially cut off after the storm passed.
These actions are the result of the dedication and determination of our field staff on the front line working in difficult conditions, supported around the clock by ChildFund’s national office staff in Manila, our emergency management unit and our regional and headquarters staff.
We are implementing a two-phase response. Phase one, over the next three to six months, is focused on relief through the distribution of food and non-food items, the establishment of Child-Centered Spaces (CCS) to assist with child protection, support for early childhood development (ECD) and basic education and support for maternal and child health and nutrition.
In the following six to 12 months, we will focus on livelihood recovery for families and communities, strengthening community-based child protection and disaster risk management and emergency response training for these communities.
We are extremely grateful to ChildFund’s sponsors and donors who are contributing to the Philippines Relief and Recovery Fund. Your ongoing support for children and families is so critical to the massive rebuilding effort that is required to restore lives.