Save the Children Philippines fears thousands of children in typhoon-devastated provinces face severe malnutrition, miss out on classes.
Thousands of children face prolonged hunger, undernutrition, and missing out on classes weeks after Super Typhoon Goni, (local name: Rolly) the world’s most powerful storm this year devastated the Bicol provinces, Save the Children Philippines said on Wednesday.
While it may take years for some 1.8 million affected people to recover from the massive devastation, another typhoon, Severe Tropical Storm Vamco (local name: Ulysses), is intensifying and threatens to severely affect Catanduanes, Albay, and Camarines Sur, the same areas that were devastated by Typhoon Goni.
“We are concerned about the situation of 450,000 children who live in fear and isolation, and continue to experience hunger and distress as they miss out on classes,” said Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines.
Humanitarian aid workers deployed in Catanduanes reported that children and their families still live in makeshift shacks, as their homes were destroyed, and have no access to life-saving information on the new typhoon due to massive power outage and communication interruption across the province.
Three truckloads of life-saving relief items including hygiene essentials, family emergency kits, and water kits will be distributed this week to children and their families in Catanduanes, the most devastated province.
Dr. Amado Parawan, Child Health and Nutrition Advisor of Save the Children Philippines supported local health officials in Camarines Sur and Albay in conducting a rapid Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) screening to detect cases of severe and moderate malnutrition among children, and in referring them to health centers for early treatment.
Muyot said the COVID-19 pandemic has already interrupted the learning of 22 million students in the country, and children in typhoon-devastated areas in the Bicol provinces continue to lose out on learning due to the destruction of schools and learning modules.
“The poorest and most marginalized children are at risk of losing out on education due to impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, compounded by the devastation caused by the typhoon,” said Muyot. “The price they will have to pay for the disruption of their education is their future.”