Flooding in Tacloban, Dagami in Leyte (credit Aaron Aspi, World Vision)

Philippine News – Calls for better child protection in emergencies intensify after 21 children killed during Seniang

PHILIPPINE NEWS, MANILA – World Vision Development Foundation – Philippines is calling on Congress to urgently pass the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act after tropical storm Seniang (Jangmi) killed 21 children during the past week.

The bill, currently on the for floor deliberations at House of Representatives, would enact stronger protection measures for children during natural disasters.

“Children are particularly vulnerable during disasters. Lives can be saved when families are notified and evacuated before storms,” says Minnie Portales, director of public engagement for World Vision Development Foundation – Philippines.

This week’s tropical storm Seniang (Jangmi) killed 54 people in flooding and landslides, and damaged 2,700 homes. The effect of the storm was felt hardest in Region VIII – Leyte and Samar – where more than half the deaths and housing damage was reported.

“With ongoing rain in Leyte and Samar, we are concerned about families whose homes were damaged in Jangmi and Hagupit,” said Bebeth Tiu, World Vision Development Foundation – Philippines’ National Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Director. “Ensuring children affected by the storms remain healthy and protected needs to be prioritized.”

The Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act, otherwise known as HB 5062, would require a Comprehensive Emergency Program for children vulnerable to and affected by calamities. It calls for a structural approach to ensuring that children are well prepared, kept safe and their voices heard in disasters and emergencies. It is expected to be debated in early 2015 during the 16th session of Congress.