Aid agencies in the Philippines are facing a race against time to reach millions of people affected by the country’s devastating floods before expected rains return later this week.
3.7 million people, including more than 2 million children, have been affected by the floods, with hundreds of thousands forced from their homes.
Save the Children says it is extremely concerned about conditions in make-shift evacuation centres, where hundreds of thousands of families are struggling with no running water or electricity, a lack of toilets and little access to healthcare.
Anna Lindenfors, Country Director for Save the Children in the Philippines said: “The need is massive and urgent – millions of people are suffering the miserable consequences of these floods and we must try to reach them before the rains hit again."
“The living conditions in most evacuation centres we’ve seen are terrible. Up to twelve families are sleeping in a single classroom and more than 20 families have to share a single toilet, which does not flush."
“These conditions have created an environment in which diseases can spread very easily. Already, we have seen multiple cases of diarrhoea, fever, colds and skin rash among children.”
Save the Children has so far reached over 5000 children and their families with water supplies, hygiene kits and cooking utensils but there are clear gaps in the aid reaching those affected.
“Families may be looking at months of living in these terrible conditions. With more rain and storms expected as we move further into the monsoon season, we fear that the situation could worsen for children,” said Anna Lindenfors.
“Children are already going without adequate health services, clean water, toilets, blankets, sleeping mats and clothing. Charities need to urgently scale up the response to cover the needs of the affected communities.”
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For interviews in Philippines, contact Lynette Lim on +63 9192461428 or +65 91864946.
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