Tell it to SunStar: Children huddled in evacuation centers at risk from Covid-19

Save the Children
·2 min read

AS HUNDREDS of thousands of children huddle in evacuation centers following the most powerful typhoon in the Philippines for seven years, Save the Children fears the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Tropical cyclone “Rolly” (Goni) made landfall across Luzon island on Sunday, bringing with it catastrophic winds, storm surges and widespread floods.

The extent of the damage in coastal areas is still unknown, but feared to have had a high humanitarian impact.

Lawyer Alberto Muyot, chief executive officer of Save the Children in the Philippines, said, “We call on the local government to urgently put in place proper health protocols to protect people sheltering in evacuation centers from life-threatening diseases, including Covid-19.

“They must also ensure children and their families staying in evacuation centers are provided with hygiene essentials, nutritious food and clean water. It is important local officials provide breast milk access to babies in case they are separated from their mothers, or mothers are unable to express breastmilk due to injury and psychosocial distress,” Muyot said.

As local governments implemented pre-emptive measures, children and their families have to stay in cramped evacuation areas, exposing them to Covid-19 and other life-threatening diseases, hunger and possible abuse and violence.

A 10-member humanitarian team from Save the Children Philippines is scheduled to be deployed on Tuesday, November 3, to Southern and Central Luzon provinces to conduct rapid assessment of the impact of the typhoon and identify the support for children.

As soon it is safe to do so, the Save the Children will deploy aid workers to the worst-affected parts of Luzon island.

The child rights organization has pre-positioned life-saving items including household kits with basic necessities for families, tarpaulins to build emergency shelters and hygiene kits in stock so people can take Covid-19 preventive measures.