Source: Save The Children
MANILA, 12 February 2024 – About 97,000 families  have been forced to flee their homes due to landslides and flooding in the Philippines’ southern region of Mindanao with rescue operations hampered by the extreme weather and children’s health and mental wellbeing at risk, Save the Children said.
Torrential rains have battered Davao de Oro province in Mindanao region in the south of the Philippines in recent weeks, triggering deadly floods and landslides. Rescue efforts in parts of the region were also set back by a subsequent 5.2 magnitude earthquake.
Mindanao is home to the second-largest island in the Philippines and a third of the country’s poorest people, which exacerbates the effects of natural disasters.
The latest extreme weather has been partly brought on by the climate crisis and El Niño, a natural weather phenomenon which causes fluctuations in sea surface temperatures, rainfall, and atmospheric circulation in the Pacific Ocean, and the phenomenon is expected to last in the Philippines until May this year.
Save the Children Philippines sent teams over the weekend to hand out children’s hygiene kits and other supplies, as well as to assess other needs in landslide-affected areas that have impacted more than 1.2 million people, including about 269,0000 children, and left at least 54 people dead.
The floods and landslides have resulted in damage to homes, displacement and a disruption to essential water supplies and health services, posing a risk to public health, according to the country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Electricity lines have been cut and communication networks disrupted in several areas. The floods and landslides have damaged the infrastructure of some 43 schools, according to the country’s Department of Education.
Save the Children Philippines CEO, Atty. Alberto Muyot, said:
“It is imperative that we act together and work closely with the government to make sure the children and the families are provided the immediate help they need when disaster strikes. Children are the most vulnerable before, during, and after disasters. The stress they experience from difficult situations during emergencies and calamities will take a toll on their physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.”
Rising global temperatures and severe weather conditions brought about by global climate change is wreaking havoc in places like Southeast Asia.
In the Philippines, children who were born in 2020 will live through 4.9 times more scorching heatwaves, 2.3 times more floods, 1.2 times more droughts and 1.5 times more crop failures than their grandparents or people born 60 years ago.
Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981 with programs in humanitarian response, health and nutrition, education, and children’s rights and protection.
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