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15.11.2013 - News

Philippines: Terre des hommes is on the ground helping children

Our teams in the Philippines are sending us apocalyptic images of destroyed homes, downed trees, roads and bridges in ruins and flooded areas. The reaction from the international community to this catastrophe has been immediate. Nevertheless, humanitarian aid has barely reached the inhabitants of the regions most affected, such as Leyte and Samar, leaving people who have lost everything in great despair.

Magnitude of damage hinders arrival of humanitarian aid

Typhoon Haiyan devastated entire cities and villages, with 90 to 100% of the infrastructure within a 50-km swathe created by the typhoon’s path having been destroyed. Airports have only recently reopened, with the exception of Tacloban, where flights are still limited. The presence of debris in the streets and a lack of trucks and fuel are seriously hampering aid distribution. Access is extremely difficult, both for residents trying to flee and for humanitarian aid groups trying to deliver emergency supplies as best they can. Certain areas still remain completely cut off.

“The situation on the ground is chaotic. The magnitude of the damage is so great that even the authorities have little means to evaluate the real extent,” Geoffrey Cordell, member of the Tdh emergency unit, informs us. He has been in the Philippines since the beginning of the week.

Terre des hommes is responding to critical needs

According to OCHA, 11.5 million people – one in 10 of the entire population of the Philippines – have been affected. There are 4.5 million children among them, according to UNICEF. Almost half of those displaced are children. Some of them are unaccompanied or separated from their parents and they have all lost their sense of orientation. Being particularly vulnerable, they are in need of access to healthcare, nutrition, drinking water and sanitation in the short term. They also require education and protection. In order to regain their stability, they also need to be able to play and feel safe and secure.

Four days ago, Tdh deployed an evaluation team on the ground in Manila (the capital) and in the province of Samar, one of the most affected areas. Our team is made up of experts in child protection, health, water, and sanitation who are well equipped to implement emergency response projects. Numerous members of the Terre des Hommes Holland national team (already present in the Philippines working on other development projects), though victims themselves, have set aside their family commitments to evaluate the needs of the local population.

Tdh is working closely with the Filipino authorities and other organisations on the ground in order to optimise the delivery of aid. In an initial phase, the emergency unit is being mobilised to help 20,000 families, representing nearly 100,000 individuals. To accomplish this, we plan to distribute emergency shelters and basic supplies (hygiene kits, clothing and blankets), work on supplying water and sanitation, and assist children with their education by providing academic material. We also want to make the protection of separated and unaccompanied children a priority by implementing child protection systems to prevent the risk of abuse, trafficking and exploitation, among other things. Finally, we are also carrying out projects in the area of maternal-infant health and the prevention of malnutrition.

Today, we are asking for your support. Your direct donations enable Terre des hommes to respond quickly and autonomously to existing needs. The people of the Philippines need international help to get back on their feet – give them the boost they need! Donate now.