Philippine floods: more than a million people affected
Wednesday 8 August 2012
Written by Angel Saceda, Save the Children, Philippines
It has been raining for almost a month now here in Manila. This is the first time I’ve experienced so much rain – a big change from my previous post in Mindanao.
Waking up to howling winds and torrential rain has been scary for me – I can only imagine how frightening this must be for the young and vulnerable children living in the region.
It’s no secret that Manila is prone to flooding, but to be in the middle of the chaos is completely different to what I’d seen on the news.
There is a sense of urgency to always be on the move, to always be watchful. It has brought so many sleepless nights.
And we cannot seem to catch a break. Just last week, we had Typhoon Saola, and floodwaters have not yet subsided.
It must be exhausting for the families who have barely recovered from the typhoon to cope with this new flood.
Landslides and strong winds
More than a million people are now affected by the monsoon rains and flooding.
In the worst-hit areas, ravaging floodwaters have reached more than five feet, with landslides burying houses and strong winds bringing down electric posts.
Some are in evacuation centres, while some opt to stay on top of their roofs and others take refuge in houses of relatives who have remained largely unaffected.
Prepared for disaster
It is in moments like these that we know our disaster preparedness programmes make a huge difference to the lives of those who are living in high-risk zones.
Children we have trained to prepare for disasters texted us to say they were able to assist their families in evacuating before the floodwaters came.
The flurry of gratefulness warmed our heart amidst the dreadful weather.
I was overwhelmed at how packed evacuation centres are. But it was also heartwarming to see that communities are prioritising children and taking them to the cleanest parts of the centres, where they can be properly taken care of, fed and recover from the distress caused by the floods.
However, there are huge gaps in relief goods entering these centres.
According to our initial assessments, children and families need more blankets, clothing, and hygiene kits.
It was evident: they left their homes with almost nothing.
If you would like to support our work in emergencies, please donate to Save the Children’s Emergency Fund, which allows us to respond quickly when disaster strikes.