Report: Children in Yolanda-hit areas vulnerable to threats

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Thursday, June 26, 2014


YOUNG members of the nearly 6,000 families who remain in evacuation centers in areas struck by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) are vulnerable to threats if the government will not provide them with permanent houses, non-governmental organization Save the Children said in a report.

The report highlights the dangers children and young people face, as they continue to live in temporary shelters.

The Save the Children said "having too much time and not much to do" makes the young population close to acquiring illness such as asthma, having vices such as drinking alcohol and committing crimes and other anti-social behavior.

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On November 2013, Typhoon Yolanda, the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land last year, hit the Eastern Visayas region, particularly Tacloban City in Leyte province. It killed thousands of people while millions of survivors were left homeless, hungry and thirsty.

Yolanda affected 14 million people, six million of them were children.

The government provided evacuation centers, tent cities and later on bunkhouses as temporary shanties for the homeless families.

"Our staff at Save the Children are seeing children living in these temporary communities that are simply bad for them. Sanitation problems are going to continue to cause sickness and disease and the lack of infrastructure means there is no sense of routine and normality. It's time to prioritize these children, these survivors, and not let Yolanda claim anymore young lives," said Rowena Cordero, Acting Country Director of Save the Children.

The international group also cited the insufficient lightning particularly in the latrines, which caused threat for young girls.

"Bad lighting in latrines and on paths can pose a serious threat to the security of children and young girls, particularly at night time. Some of the bunkhouses are also unfenced leaving residence with little, if any, protection from trespassers," the report stated.

Save the Children urged the government to immediately make improvements to the government-run temporary shelters and to release their master rehabilitation plan so that those affected by Yolanda can understand the government's priorities and start planning for their future.

"These children are at a very important time of their lives. Save the Children want to see them able to fulfil their potential, to access education, to have a routine and to not let this typhoon ruin their futures. It's time for the government to act on the behalf of children," Cordero said.

Save the Children, the largest independent organization for children working in 120 countries all over the world, has been in typhoon-affected communities since November last year, working alongside communities to provide shelter, food, employment and access to education. They are now working alongside those affected to prepare for upcoming bad weather. (Sunnex)

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