13 December 2013

Tacloban One Month after the Typhoon: Helping Children Cope with Trauma

12/13/2013: One month after Typhoon Haiyan wrought devastation across the Philippines, SOS Children’s Villages is working hard to relieve the suffering of children. A total of 12,118 towns have been devastated. The Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) estimates the death toll at 5,786, with 1,800 people missing. In Tacloban alone thousands of families have been left homeless, and SOS has responded by funneling a large number of resources to the coastal city.

One of the more innovative ways that SOS Children’s Villages is reaching out to vulnerable children is by providing them with safe spaces where they can learn and play. Organizations such as SOS Children’s Villages, UNICEF, and others know how important it is to bring a sense of normalcy back to the children of Tacloban. In addition to ensuring they have shelter, food, and access to healthcare, this means providing children with child-friendly spaces. Since most public buildings are being used as emergency shelters for homeless families, traditional child-friendly spaces, such as schools and playgrounds, are inaccessible.

Child-friendly spaces

Parents across the city are working to rebuild homes to provide shelter for their families; while they work, their children need safe places where they can play under the supervision of trained adults.  In Tacloban and other affected areas, SOS Children’s Villages is setting up child-friendly spaces where children can seek refuge from the devastation around them. One such site is an SOS Hermann Gmeiner School. The building was damaged and regular scheduled classes cannot continue, but the usable parts of the building are open to children and families who need a place to play, learn, and feel safe again. SOS is offering daycare to local families in the mornings, as well as providing lunch to neighborhood children in the afternoon.

SOS Children’s Villages is also reaching out to the wider community. Approximately one hundred families have taken refuge in a local theater, one of the few structures unscathed by the storm, and SOS has co-opted the space to create a safe space for the children living there. These children are able to engage in fun, educational activities while their parents venture out into the city and try to find alternative housing.

SOS will continue to offer daycare and play opportunities throughout Tacloban to help children and families heal from the trauma they experienced. These spaces are vital to children and the community at large, but the relief SOS provides isn’t stopping at child-friendly spaces. SOS is also working hard to resume classes at local schools, rebuild homes, and provide access to desperately needed supplies.

Click here to help SOS provide relief to Tacloban and other towns affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Your donation today can help vulnerable children affected by the storm.