Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, Philippines – Dec. 23, 2011– ChildFund has opened three child-centered spaces at the West City Central Elementary School – one of the evacuation centers for the thousands of people in the Philippines affected by the flash floods brought on by Tropical Typhoon Washi, which swept through southern Philippines last Friday night.
Many people, including children, are in shock and confused about the situation. ChildFund recognizes that children in emergency situations need a safe space in which to play and reestablish a sense of normalcy. “Child-centered spaces provide psychosocial support for children who have been affected by emergencies,” said Mark Anthony Dasco, acting country director in the Philippines. “They also provide a safe, physical space for children to gather in an unstable environment.”
John, a 13-year-old staying at the West City Central evacuation center said, “It was so frightening. First, the water was at knee level. It then rose very quickly to my waist and then neck level. I almost drowned. Good that my father was able to get hold of me.”
John says about ChildFund’s child-centered space “I play with other children and I can forget about what has happened.”
ChildFund is also providing emergency relief to 2,000 children and families in Cagayan de Oro, one of the worst-hit areas. Families are receiving bottled water, food items and hygiene kits.
ChildFund is raising funds to open more child-centered spaces to reach out to more children. “ChildFund is working to protect children and help them recover from this stressful experience,” said Dasco. “We will continuously support the families and communities as they recover from this disaster.”