Children’s welfare organization sends help to eruption-displaced kids suffering trauma

Published January 17, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chito Chavez

A cause-oriented group has estimated that about 124,000 children were forcibly displaced from their homes in the aftermath of the recent disastrous Taal Volcano eruption, with the numbers expected to increase in the coming days.

Jerome Balinton, Humanitarian Manager for Save the Children Philippines, reported that at least 300,000 people have been evacuated or displaced by the Taal Volcano eruption since Sunday.

He added that nearly half of those affected by the disaster were children “and we expect that number to rise.”

The group said entire towns and areas in the danger zone are “abandoned and covered in hazardous volcanic ash.”

In a statement, Save the Children Philippines said some 1,000 residents of Taal Volcano Island may never return to their homes after President Duterte declared the place “no man’s land.”

“The sudden displacement of so many people is putting enormous strain on host communities. Many families are staying with friends or relatives while others are seeking refuge in cramped and unsanitary evacuation centres where the risk of disease is high, especially among children,’’ the group in a statement.

“Meanwhile, the volcano continues to erupt, with scientists warning that the biggest eruption may be yet to come. Entire communities, many of whom rely on tourism, have already been devastated, forced from their homes and now robbed of their livelihoods.”

The group said “the children we’ve spoken to tell us that missing out on school is their biggest concern.”

Save the Children said it is setting up two child-friendly spaces manned by childcare professionals in the affected areas, where children can learn and play while receiving emotional support to help them cope with their distress.

“We will also begin distributing sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, and other vital household items to displaced families,” the group said.