Nearly 4.5 million children may be affected in the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Koppu according to The Save The Children Fund. The massive storm which slammed into Northern Philippines on Saturday has likely decimated coastal dwellings, smashed power lines, and forced scores of residents to frantically abandon their homes and seek shelter. Reports have also revealed that the destructive impact of the storm has ravaged major fruit and vegetable plantations, spelling grave implications for the local population. The Agency’s country director in the Philippines, Ned Olney, expressed paramount concerns in a recent statement.
“We are extremely concerned for the welfare of children affected by the storm. From our own experience responding to other storms in the Philippines we know that children are always the most vulnerable in a disaster, so in the coming days we will determine what support they will need.”
The aid agency has announced on its website that emergency supplies, including basic food, water, and medical provisions are adequately in place and will be transported to locations designated as safe shelters across affected territories for those immediately displaced. The website explains the history of storms and the Philippines.
‘The Philippines is a hot spot for natural disasters that include tropical storms and active volcanoes. Throughout history of Philippines, poverty has been a major obstacle to children reaching their full potential. Girls and boys frequently miss out on education due to child labor and lack of access to schools and their families cannot afford healthy meals every day.”
On average, nearly 10 tropical storms make landfall in the Philippines annually, with numerous more repeatedly closing in on its territorial waters. The worst ever year reported was 1993 when an astounding 19 cyclones slammed the country’s coastline. By far the most destructive cyclone ever recorded was Typhoon Thelma, which took more than 5,000 lives back in 1991. Prodigious death tolls were also reported when the destructive Typhoon Haiyan pummeled the country in November, 2013. The most expensive storm to have made landfall in the Philippines was in December of 2012 when Typhoon Bopha inflicted damage worth nearly $1 billion on the typhoon-ridden country.
Situated in close proximity to the turbulent waters of the Pacific, the Philippines is among the world’s most critically vulnerable regions. It constitutes an archipelago that consists of 7,107 islands with a total land area of 300,000 square kilometers and a coastline extremely susceptible to storm surges. The fact that it remains one of the more economically-impoverished countries in the region has also compounded its problems leading to evidently deficient response-mechanisms most prominent in the wake of ravaging disasters.
Back in 2013, Typhoon Haiyan had elicited a huge international response effort when the U.N. had announced that approximately 1.5 million children were at risk of malnutrition, pressing for greater efforts to provide food and water. The present storm is expected to spark an equally resilient initiative as the scale of the catastrophe begins to slowly unfold. According to a UNICEF update, the foremost priority is to ensure the safety of children against contaminated water sources, lack of food, and outbreaks which frequently follow in the wake of a typhoon, such as cholera, hypothermia, diarrhea, and pneumonia.
Meanwhile, although the intensity of the storm may have somewhat subsided, as reported by Inquisitr, the storm has already caused the displacement of over 25,000 villagers and claimed four lives. National Emergency authorities are of the opinion that the number of those affected by Typhoon Koppu could climb as more information is obtained from the most severely impacted regions of the country.
[Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]