Children endure the aftermath of the North Cotabato earthquake
Kidapawan City – When a 6.6 and 6.5-magnitude earthquakes hit Southern Mindanao in just three days, many communities took the brunt of the natural disaster. Families were displaced, finding refuge in designated evacuation centers while others just set up makeshift shelters outside their houses.
According to the national disaster risk reduction and management council (NDRRMC), 146,700 persons were affected, over 21,000 of whom are in evacuation centers.
In times of disaster, children are the most vulnerable and prone to different protection issues that include psychosocial distress, disrupted education, lack of electricity at night, lack of privacy due to disruption of sanitation facilities and physical dangers due to debris. Staying under tarpaulins fixed as roof or inside covered court in an unpredictable weather also exposes them to diseases.
Raycel is a 13-year-old girl from Kidapawan City. She recounted her experience when the earthquake happened. “I was terribly worried because my parents and other siblings were not at home. We survived the earthquake but we need to face new challenges in our temporary shelter. Extreme heat or rain punishes us inside our makeshift tent,” Raycel said. “We need extra tarpaulin and other shelter materials, food, water, and medicines.”
“World Vision assessment team has been to Makilala, Kidapawan and Tulunan. Affected families, especially the children need help,” shares Rex Rubio, World Vision Programme Officer. Food, water, blankets, tents, medicines, hygiene kits and psychosocial support are the immediate needs expressed by the displaced population.
World Vision’s Response
“We are deeply saddened by the impact of the multiple earthquakes that happened in Mindanao, especially the loss of many lives. World Vision stands ready to provide support and complement the government’s relief efforts, especially in ensuring that children are safe and protected,” shares Rommel V. Fuerte, World Vision’s Executive Director.
The organization will initially distribute emergency shelter kits (tarps and ropes) to affected families and provide psychosocial support to children through Child-Friendly Spaces.
Published November 6, 2019/ Written by Mong Jimenez / Report and Photos by Rex Rubio