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Philippines: Children caught in the chaos

It must have been terrifying.

Flash floods create a fast moving body of water, sweeping away everything in its path. Cars, trees, people.

Flash floods: hundreds killed

Yesterday morning (night-time in the Philippines), very heavy rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks and flood the area.

Hundreds were killed and thousands more have been left stranded, without food or shelter.

Buildings destroyed by the devastating flash floods in southern Philippines.
Buildings destroyed by the flash flooding in southern Philippines.

Immediate action

Save the Children’s team on the ground launched into action immediately – assessing the damage on the most vulnerable children and their families.

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Few survivors

Travelling along the highway you can see bodies lined up – waiting to be identified.

Hundreds of people were killed but there are only a few injured.

This is not unusual in a flood. Very few people caught up in the path of a flash flood will survive.

Most of the dead were children

Again this isn’t a surprise. Children are smaller, lighter and less likely to know where to go in an emergency.

Those that survived will be cold, exhausted and terrified.

Some will have been separated from their parents in the chaos.

Scenes of devastation.

Families lost

Several of Save the Children’s team are coping with personal tragedy while responding to the flooding.

One tells me their family didn’t survive intact.

The debris of a destroyed house fell on top of a relative, killing her.

Homes destroyed

Another tells me that water levels are so high their home is completely uninhabitable.

They are worried about electrocution, so can’t return home.

Yet another reports that they have run out of coffins in the town, and he doesn’t know what will happen.

Reaching those in need

Our team carries on anyway, urgently struggling through debris and floodwater to reach the victims of the crisis.

Several had been on the phone through the night, trying to comfort those stranded on rooftops of houses.

Critical next few days

Children are always the most vulnerable during emergencies – and in the aftermath.

Stagnant water and tainted supplies can cause disease.

Longer term, children will face hunger and malnutrition – in a country where 30% of the population already live beneath the poverty line, lost food stocks and lost income can push families over the brink.

Working around the clock

50,000 children have been caught up in the flash flooding, and we’re working around the clock to reach vulnerable children and adults before it is too late.

We’re launching an emergency response to help victims of the flooding.

Our experts are on the ground to distribute drinking water and essential items to families affected by the disaster.

Donate now and help us save more lives when disaster strikes


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