Children at risk as monster typhoon heads for Philippines

11 MAY 2017

Children in remote villages will face the worst of Typhoon Haiyan when it hits the Philippines, warns humanitarian organisation Plan International as it prepares to respond.

Children in remote villages will face the worst of super typhoon Haiyan when it hits the Philippines, warns child rights organisation Plan International.

Country Director of Plan in the Philippines, Carin van der Hor, says many towns and urban areas are well prepared and have been given information and warned to evacuate the storm which is packing winds of over 310 kmh (195mph).

Evacuation essential

She said “There is almost nowhere to go because the storm is 600 kilometres in diameter. People are evacuating to higher ground where possible and they’re using schools often as shelters.”

“We’re mostly worried about people in more remote areas. We think that people in the town centres are pretty well prepared because the information has reached them.”

“But there are always going to be pockets of very poor, very remote villages that either may not have been reached in time or where people simply have not wanted to evacuate. So they will be on our priority list. We know from experience, when disasters hit, they always hit the most vulnerable the hardest.

This is really a monster typhoon and you can imagine how scary that is

“Staff on the ground have reported huge waves, electricity poles coming down, toppled trees, landslides, damaged houses and roofs flying off buildings, so this is really a monster typhoon and you can imagine how scary that is.” she said.

Emergency response staff are particularly concerned about the impact of flash floods, major landslides and storm surges.

There have been pre-emptive evacuations carried out as early as Wednesday in areas where Plan works, North Samar, West Samar, North Samar, South Leyte, Masbate and Occidental Mindoro.

Children will witness things no child should see

Plan has prepositioned 4,000 water kits and 4,000 pieces of plastic sheeting so if roads become impassable items can be quickly distributed by the community to those in need of water and shelter. These can serve about 20,000 people. In addition, there are similar numbers of kits in reserve for further distributions.

Carin said: “Children are always badly affected by disasters like this; some will lose their lives, or lose parents, siblings and extended families. Everything that is familiar and safe is disrupted or destroyed, including homes, schooling and family livelihoods. Some of these children will witness things no child should have to see.”

Typhoon Haiyan most powerful this year

Haiyan could be even more devastating than Typhoon Bopha, which lashed the Philippines in 2012, killing at least 1,146 people and leaving more than US$1 billion worth of damage.

On average 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, with 2 or 3 of them devastating. Haiyan is the 25th storm to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) this year and is the most powerful.

All of Plan Philippines’ programme units, home to about 40,000 sponsored children, are likely to be affected.

Plan has been working in the Philippines since 1961. We work in 420 communities nationwide. More than 80,000 families benefit from our projects.