Children in Philippines ‘left on their own, wandering’

A boy carries his dog while wading in floodwaters brought by the monsoon rain, intensified by tropical storm Trami, in Paranaque city, metro Manila August 20, 2013.  Credit: Reuters
A boy carries his dog while wading in floodwaters brought by the monsoon rain, intensified by tropical storm Trami, in Manila in August.
Credit: Reuters

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is making an urgent plea for help after witnessing the post-typhoon lives of children in the Philippines.

U.S. Fund for UNICEF President and CEO Caryl M. Stern described heartbreaking situations.

“What people need to understand is that children are the most vulnerable whenever there is a disaster,” Stern told Metro.

Stern said the U.S. Fund for UNICEF estimates 100,000 kids under the age of 5 and 60,000 pregnant and nursing mothers have been displaced.

She said these children are “often left on their own, wandering.”

“That’s the scariest thing for us,” she said. “We’ve seen photographs of kids in the water.”

She said some of these children recount heart-wrenching stories: standing beside their parents one moment, only to be separated from them the next; returning from a short trip to the market to find their home vanished.

She pointed out that many of the typhoon victims were vulnerable populations to begin with.

“For many of the families, these are kids who were in high-risk poverty areas to begin with,” she said. “They were struggling to survive before the typhoon.”

An estimated 4.5 million kids have been impacted by the typhoon, Stern said.

And the risks these lost and wandering children face are high.

The children are sometimes kidnapped and forced into trafficking, Stern said. People “will take children that are not theirs,” she said pointedly.

So UNICEF sets up “child-friendly spaces,” Stern said: “spaces where children will be held, protected, cared for, until they can be reunited with a family.”

UNICEF also provides emergency school supplies, with a little package they call “School-in-a-Box.” The box comes packed with notebooks and pencils, and unfolds to reveal a blackboard-lined interior that can be used by a teacher.

While UNICEF normally only works in developing nations, the U.S. government enlisted their help after Hurricane Katrina: they supplied Schools-in-a-Box for shelters in Houston and Louisiana.

An estimated 2.8 pre-school and school-age kids in the Philippines may have been driven from their homes, Stern said. She emphasized the importance of normalcy and routine for a child’s psychosocial recovery.

At the moment, Stern said, UNICEF needs financial assistance more than anything else. It is far more cost-effective, she explained, to transport supplies from local warehouses than it is to ship donated goods from the U.S.

Stern hopes American adults can empathize with the needs of these children.

“Imagine what it’s like to be a child who doesn’t know what [happened],” Stern said. “Who only knows that yesterday they were safe, and today’s they’re not.”

HOW TO DONATE
• Call 1-800-FOR-KIDS
• Text RELIEF to 864233 (UNICEF) to donate $10
• Donate online at www.unicefusa.org/philippines
For credit card transactions, 97 cents of every dollar goes directly to the support program. The support program receives 100 percent of all check or cash donations.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.