30 December 2009

The Philippines: Children’s health at risk in cramped evacuation centres

  1. A mother and her child cross floodwaters brought on by Typhoon Ketsana in San Pedro Laguna, south of Manila, 30 September 2009. © Reuters/Erik de Castro courtesy of www.alertnet.org
  2. Survivors of Typhoon Ketsana wade through floodwaters east of Manila, Philippines, following a military truck transporting relief goods to an evacuation centre. 30 September 2009. ©Reuters/Romeo Ranoco courtesy of www.alertnet.org
  3. Flood victims standing in water brought on by Typhoon Ketsana wait for relief goods outside an evacuation centre in Pateros, east of Manila, Philippines. 30 September 2009. © Reuters/Romeo Ranoco courtesy of www.alertnet.org
  4. Survivors of Typhoon Ketsana stand in floodwaters waiting for relief goods outside an evacuation centre in Pateros, east of Manila, Philippines. 30 September 2009. © Reuters/Romeo Ranoco courtesy of www.alertnet.org
  5. Children among residents wading through knee-deep floodwaters brought by Typhoon Ketsana in Taytay Rizal, east of Manila, Philippines. 30 September 2009. © Reuters/Romeo Ranoco courtesy of www.alertnet.org
  6. Children look out from a partially submerged house in floodwaters caused by Typhoon Ketsana in San Pedro Laguna, Philippines, 30 September 2009. © Erik de Castro / Reuters courtesy of www.alertnet.org

22 October 2009

Over two weeks after Typhoon Ketsana struck the Philippines, communities continue to struggle to recover from the disaster. Many areas remain submerged and survivors in evacuation centres are exposed to rain, garbage and unsanitary conditions.

Nine-year-old Arnold is one of the hundreds of children staying at evacuation sites. When he spoke with World Vision staff, he could barely walk as his feet were blistered and swollen from wading in murky, garbage-filled floodwaters. “It’s itchy and painful,” he said.

Five-year-old Michelle is also suffering painful sores. All of her siblings, including her four-month-old sister, contracted fungal infections after the floods. The family has received some medical treatment but in such cramped conditions disease remains a constant threat.

“It’s a challenge to keep the children healthy in an evacuation centre with so many people. You don’t know what other disease they might get,” Michelle’s mother Rosepin said.

In the sports stadium where Arnold and Michelle are staying, more than 400 families contend the heat, discomfort and lack of sanitation.

Recent World Vision assessments in Marikina, Cainta, Angono, Antipolo and Pasig found fungal infections, diarrhoea and upper respiratory tract infections among the most common illnesses of typhoon survivors.

“After a disaster, children are more vulnerable. In evacuation centres, where a lot of people all live together in one area, they need to be protected,” said World Vision’s Cherry Marcelo in the Philippines.

World Vision is providing support to restore health facilities and services in affected areas, including the provision of critical medical equipment and supplies. Child-Friendly Spaces have also been set up, so children have safe places to play and learn.

With tons of garbage left on the streets and many areas still inundated, World Vision is working with partners to help the clean-up efforts and plan for long-term restoration of communities.

You can read about World Vision's relief efforts in the Philippines and here.