1 million hit by Philippines floods
By Anna Lindenfors, Country Director for Save the Children in the Philippines
I’m in my home, hip-deep in water and on the phone, discussing relief supplies, logistics lines and manpower, for us to help the worst-affected families in the recent flooding in Metro Manila and its surrounding regions.
The rain has been relentless in the past week, sheets of rain pouring from a cloudy sky with no signs of a break. The saturated soil and overflowing dams means we can only expect increasing flooding in the coming weeks.
More than 1 million people have been affected by the floods. That number is expected to continue to rise in the coming hours and days.
While we’re affected ourselves, we understand that many others are in a far worse position. Nearly 300,000 people have been displaced and are living in increasingly overcrowded evacuation centres or relatives’ homes.
Many families, especially those with young children, need shelter, blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, food, clean water and a space resume school and regain a sense of normality.
Beyond providing immediate relief, our team is focusing on improving sustainability and climate change adaptation. Floods are recurrent here, and likely to continue in the coming years.
In the relief work we did last year, we helped rebuild schools by:
- placing sand bags along pathways
- installing new drainage lines and mini school dykes
- constructing school sea walls
- refurbishing classrooms with hanging cabinets and flood resistant blackboards.
All these measures help ensure that teaching and learning materials don’t have to be replaced and that there’s minimal flooding in classrooms, halls and gymnasiums, even on the ground floor.
We’ve also placed boats in communities to ensure that children have a means of transport to school regardless of how flooded roads are. These can now be used in rescue and relief efforts for families cut off from the floods.
Build back better
Following this year’s floods, we want to build on those achievements and scale up projects in communities so that they can protect their belongings and families in times like this.
Our team is now in full swing, distributing pre-prepared relief goods from our warehouses, assessing other needs of children and their families, and planning ways to ensure sustainability and durability in all of our relief programmes.
It’s vital that we support families in building back better, so children can feel safe even in times of disasters.