The number and strength of storms hitting the Philippines have increased dramatically in the past 20 years.
The largest, Typhoon Haiyan, struck in November 2013 and killed 6,000 people. Only a year later Typhoon Hagupit hit a similar part of the country. This time people were prepared – half a million people were moved from their homes to higher ground, and there were far fewer fatalities.
Our project in Mindanao in the southern region of the Philippines is empowering primary-aged children to know what to do when an emergency hits. As entire households can be cut off for days or even weeks after a storm, landslide or flood hits, we are also working with families to make sure they have enough food to eat immediately after a disaster.
Because previous emergencies have wiped out backyard food gardens, damaging the food supply for both the short and the long term, we have been working with communities to develop other ways of preserving and storing food – ensuring that families have enough food to eat, no matter what nature brings.
Read Lady Heart’s story
Twelve-year-old Lady Heart leaves for school at 6am. By that time her father has left home to work in a cacao plantation. Her stepmother works abroad so her father is single-handedly raising her and her sister.
Lady Heart’s father always leaves them a cooked breakfast – to make sure that his daughters have something to eat every morning.
Lady Heart remembers her home being flooded by Typhoon Queenie in 2014.
It was strong. At its worst the water was so high that most of our belongings were either soaked by the water or gone. School was the same. Now, because of Save the Children, we are learning so much about the possible disasters that could affect our village that I feel as though I wouldn’t panic so much during a storm.
He goes to school, but there are times when he feels very weak and is uninterested. Sometimes he just leaves the classroom to look for something to eat. In a week he would be lucky to be able to bring some ground corn to school for lunch.
Teacher Sweet, talking about one of Lady Heart’s friends, Danilo
Sometimes I am absent from school because I have to help my father on the farm, so we can have something to eat. We plant banana, string beans, sweet potato, cassava and karlang.
As the Philippines is hit by typhoons frequently, it’s vital that children are fully informed about what they need to do to stay safe. That’s why we’re working in 20 primary schools in South Mindanao – teaching children and working with them to prepare for disasters.
Children, teachers, families and the broader community are learning that they can prepare for and be ready to manage the risks posed by floods, landslides and typhoons.
Children are learning about the hazards in their village posed by natural disasters. Lady Heart and her friends are ready to act, so when a typhoon hits they will know exactly what to do to survive.
Adopting new farming methods creates larger crop volumes and healthier livestock, so that families who are facing a daily battle to eke out a living are better able to feed themselves.
Children are able to attend school regularly because they don’t have to stay at home to help their parents earn money for their households.
Thanks to our supporters we are changing the lives of children in hazardous parts of the Asia-Pacific region.
villages have disaster plans
teachers trained in disaster risk reduction
children trained to lead school disaster reduction
households growing food in their gardens
Our work isn’t done yet
Your support helps children like Lady Heart. Because we are working with Lady Heart’s family and community to find ways to increase their incomes and prepare them for emergencies, Lady Heart will be ready to act when the next disaster hits her village.