PHILIPPINE NEWS, MANILA – Children who survived Typhoon Yolanda, a year ago this November 8th have spoken to leading child rights organization Save the Children and highlighted that their plight is far from over.
Despite timely relief for those who found themselves in the path of the strongest typhoon to make landfall, too many families still need the basics to sustain themselves and their families—a regular income, a roof and reliable access to nutritious food.
Children who were affected by Yolanda told Save the Children that despite being relatively happy with the aid received in the first phase, that there is still much to do and full recovery will be impossible without jobs and food.
In interviews with 162 children across Yolanda-affected areas, children said that what they need now is for their parents to have jobs.
Axel aged 9 said “Our house still needs repair. My father also needs work. Sometimes he has no job. Sometimes we do not have money or food.”
A Household Economic Approach conducted in July of this year by Save the Children and the Food Economy Group, concluded that, “In the absence of continued support, the poorest households will not be able to recover and risk falling back on negative coping strategies which will result in negative outcomes for children.”
Around 14 million people were affected when Yolanda hit land, destroying houses, smashing fishing boats, ripping coconut trees out of the ground and sending a 17 foot wave of seawater over farmlands. Households in many of the most severely affected provinces had incomes 75% below the national average before the storm according to the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery and OPARR is now projecting that more than 33 billion pesos alone will be required to restore those livelihoods. It also said that another 137 billion is required to restore infrastructure, resettlement and social services.
“The scale of Yolanda was unprecedented here in the Philippines. So many people’s lives were destroyed. Recovery is a big job. Many children reported hunger, sickness and fear during the initial aftermath, but they also predicted that jobs and social services would be key to ensuring their long term recovery. One year on, they are renewing that call. Save the Children will continue working with families affected by this tragedy to help them achieve this.” said Director of Yolanda Response Michel Rooijackers.
Save the Children is committed to the Yolanda survivors and has pledged to work alongside communities for the following two years to build sustainable livelihoods and help them prepare and adapt for future disasters. To ensure that Yolanda does not leave a legacy of child poverty in its wake, Save the Children is also calling for the national government, international donors and the general public to work together. “Rather than this being a time to congratulate ourselves on a job well done, one year on is the time for all actors to recommit ourselves to ensuring a robust, resilient and equitable recovery for children said Rooijackers. “It is important that we take this opportunity to push for policy change to protect not only child survivors of Yolanda but for all Filipino children.”
Save the Children is currently campaigning for the passage of “Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act,” (HB 5062), filed by child rights advocate Rep. Susan Yap (2nd Dt, Tarlac) in the Congress and by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago in the Senate. The bill was developed as a result of Save the Childrn the ongoing work with children in Yolanda affected regions and part of their long-term commitment to protect children during emergencies.
“The children have laid out clear priorities for recovery, their advice has been confirmed by experts, it is up to the rest of us to help make it a reality.”