12 February 2014

Philippines 100 Days After the Storm: Amidst Recovery, Ongoing Support is Crucial

SOS Children's Villages Philippines

02/12/2014: More than 100 days ago, Super Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines and destroyed homes, schools, and livelihoods. The city of Tacloban, home to an SOS Children’s Village, was among the cities sustaining the most damage. The once-familiar streets were buried under wreckage. The welcoming homes were gutted. Families were caught in a desperate struggle for survival.

Fortunately, the children in SOS Children’s Village Tacloban were able to evacuate the area. After the storm, they returned to a Village that needed extensive repairs, but they were fortunate:  their home was still intact.

The surrounding communities did not fare as well. Now, months later, as the initial outpouring of relief aid slows to a trickle, many who lost everything in the span of those few turbulent hours are still struggling to rebuild and reclaim their lives. In the coastal villages of Bislig, Magay and Palanog, families lack the tools to help themselves.

Boy Logarto, a mother who survived Typhoon Haiyan with her husband and five children, notes that the path to recovery lies in ensuring that citizens are once again able to support themselves. “What we really need is a livelihood,” she says. “It’s the surest way we can get back on our feet and start to rebuild our lives.”

Temporary emergency measures must now be transformed into long-term, sustainable solutions. Rebuilding will not be an easy task. SOS Children’s Villages is working with local leadership to implement the necessary long-term care that will be essential to the health and future of the Filipino people. The tents must give way to permanent homes, medical centers, and schools. Boats, essential to the local economy, must be repaired and replaced. Families must have the support they need to stay together, and children must have the resources they need to heal from the trauma of the storm.

One of the most important aspects of SOS Children’s Villages long-term plan lies with the Child Care Spaces. The first Child Care Space was quickly established in Bislig amidst the emergency relief efforts. With the support of our donors and corporate partners like Johnson & Johnson, Catapult, Atrium, Hasbro, SOS has since established a total of 11 Child Care Spaces across Tacloban that have provided over 2,000 children with food, medical attention, and psychological care. In the Child Care Spaces, children are able to set aside their worries and participate in activities such as storytelling, painting, games and music.

“During tragedies like these it is often the case that children are left vulnerable,” observes Sumanta Kar, Assistant Coordinator of the SOS Philippines Emergency Relief Programme. “Schools are closed, and children’s needs are neglected due to practical issues such as looking for food and shelter – burdens that a child should not have to bear.”

SOS Children’s Villages is also striving to ensure that the children have stable communities to live in. In Bislig, SOS is helping residents to rebuild their homes, and will soon be purchasing fishing boats to revive the local economy. The SOS Family Strengthening Programs, more essential than ever before, will continue to stabilize families. For children who were orphaned by the typhoon, SOS has established the Kinship Program, which will provide resources to the children’s caregiver and the children themselves. To ensure that local children are able to resume their educations, SOS will support the rebuilding of two schools in the area.

The road is uphill from here. The need for support is urgent, and the future of so many rests upon the compassion of others. With the combined effort of SOS Children’s Villages, numerous aid organizations, governments, the local people and all those who care about the Philippines, we will ensure that those affected by the storm will not be forgotten as time goes on.

To help children and families in the Philippines - and in crisis situations around the world - donate to SOS Children’s Villages today.