“The day we evacuated, I was really scared,” said Alicia Marco, a grandmother to seven children, as she recounted the day her family had to flee from the floods. “The youngest one, baby Kaye, was just two days old.”
After baby Kaye was born her mother was forced to stay behind in the hospital due to complications associated with her pregnancy. Baby Kaye went home to the care of her grandmother Alicia. Two days later, increasing water levels gave Alicia no choice but to take baby Kaye and the other children, abandon their home and seek refuge in one of the many evacuation centres set up around the National Capital Region. The children’s father, a construction worker, was out at work, and their mother was still in hospital.
Alicia and her seven grandchildren fled to Pag Asa Elementary School, now an evacuation centre providing shelter to 170 families. At the school, families receive hot meals provided by local authorities, but still need to buy bottled water for drinking. Save the Children’s assessment teams spoke with Alicia and other families in evacuation centres across Manila to identify their most critical needs.
“There are no mosquito nets for us here,” said Alicia, when asked about the items that she urgently needed. “To protect her from mosquitos, I have to carry Kaye throughout the night.” Both of Baby Kaye’s parents are still in the hospital, as her mother has just undergone a hysterectomy.
To add to their woes, Baby Kaye is also struggling with her own set of health problems, battling an infection she developed while in her mother’s womb. Although a midwife visits her frequently to inject Baby Kaye with antibiotics, the newborn needs nutritious food if she is to regain her strength and have a proper chance at fighting her infection. While Kaye’s mother remains in hospital recovering from her operation, the newborn is being fed with infant formula mix instead of the nutrient-rich breast milk her mother would normally provide. “Hopefully, her mother will return soon,” said Alicia, as she rocked Baby Kaye.
Nearly 300,000 people have taken refuge in 488 evacuation centres spread across the National Capital Region and Laguna, where Save the Children has begun distributing household items and jerry cans to 1,500 families the children’s aid agency also plans to reach another 2,500 individuals with hygiene items and care kits for pregnant and lactating women in the coming week.
Save the Children has begun distributing household items and jerry cans to 1,500 families in National Capital Region and Laguna. The children’s charity also plans to reach another 2,500 individuals with hygiene items and care kits for pregnant and lactating women in the coming week.