June 21, 2024

Save the Children Philippines deployed a humanitarian team to Abra to conduct rapid assessment and initial response activities to children and families affected by the 7 magnitude earthquake that struck Northern Luzon, including the capital Metro Manila, at 8:43 a.m. on July 27.

Save the Children will be working with the local government of Abra and partners for immediate assistance to 1,000 target households, which include the provision of vital prepositioned items such as household kits with basic necessities for families, tarpaulins for emergency shelters, jerry cans for storing potable water, and hygiene kits for Covid-19 prevention.

“Disasters such as earthquakes take a heavy toll especially to children most impacted by inequality and discrimination. We call on the full and effective implementation of the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act to ensure children, pregnant and lactating mothers, and those with disabilities, are protected from all forms of harm and continuously provided with access to basic health and nutrition services, safe spaces, transitional shelters, and psychosocial interventions,” Save the Children Philippines Chief Executive Officer, Atty. Albert Muyot, said. 

“Losing their homes and safe spaces due to the earthquake can be devastating for children. Our team is swiftly working on the ground to reach as many children and families as we can and bring them life-saving support. Access to basic hygiene materials and clean water is also critical for health, survival, and prevention of diseases, while tarpaulins for shelter and food can address their immediate needs. We are committed to help children recover from the impacts of disasters and we fervently rely on your support so we can save more children,” added Jerome Balinton, Save the Children’s humanitarian manager in the Philippines.

Initial assessments from local authorities and sources reported four million people, including children, were impacted by the major earthquake, of which 3.1 million were living in affected areas while 854,200 were living in worst affected areas – among them, 135,400 are from the vulnerable population.

At least five deaths and 130 people injured were recorded with figures expected to rise in the coming days. Extensive damages to houses, public infrastructures, historical sites, and road networks have been documented.

The Department of Education assessed 8,027 schools are affected, of which 35 in 15 school division offices in Luzon sustained infrastructure damages. The earthquake’s impact may continue to be felt as imminent aftershocks and damages are foreseen by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. Save the Children fears that thousands of affected children and their families will be displaced and that the calamity will disrupt children’s learning and put them at risk to the ongoing threats of the Covid-19 pandemic, hunger, and economic inequality. – Press release