Hygiene kits remind parents the importance of children’s health

Super typhoon Rolly (international name Goni)-affected families in Albay recently received hygiene items from a consortium of non-governmental organizations (NGO) to maintain the family’s health and hygiene, especially the children.

Nelia, who has five young children, and a minimum wage-earner husband admits that their daily budget is overly stretched to provide for their basic needs. “It is difficult for me as a mother. I have to pay for bills, our food, and repair of our house.”

Made of light materials, the family kitchen and balcony were blown away by Super Typhoon Rolly. “I’m thankful that the main part of our house was not affected. We still have a safe place to sleep and eat,” she adds.

Local health worker Lilibeth Orbita says that children oftentimes experience fever and colds after a typhoon. “Diarrhea is also common among children and dengue. That’s why we constantly remind them to do proper hygiene and to clean their surroundings to avoid these illnesses,” she says. Lilibeth conducts regular house-to-house visit to check on children’s health.

The distribution of hygiene kits given to 1200 families in Albay is part of relief assistance from international NGOs Oxfam, ADRA, and World Vision, together with local partners Coastal Core and Peoples’ Disaster Risk Reduction Network, with funding from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

The consortium currently works in the most affected communities in the hard-hit areas of Albay, Camarines Sur, and Catanduanes providing assistance in shelter, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH), food, and protection initiatives.

For Nelia, the hygiene items they received will help them save money for several months.  We will not be buying soaps in the next weeks, for instance. With a big family like ours, that would be a big savings.”

“Because they have lots of soaps now, new toothbrushes and toothpastes, and other essentials, they have no reason anymore not to practice proper hygiene,” Lilibeth adds.

Super Typhoon Goni (local name Rolly) packed with a maximum wind of 315kph left a trail of extensive damage in Catanduanes and other provinces in southern Luzon. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reports that Super Typhoon Rolly has affected over 2 million people nationwide, and left Php12 billion ($ 240 M) worth of damage to infrastructure and Php 5 billion ($100 M)  in agriculture. Days after, typhoon Ulysses (international name Vamco) entered thePhilippines, which further aggravated the situation of families barely coping with Rolly.