CANADA MINISTER  STOCKWELL DAY  TO  VISIT EVACUATION CENTER IN RP

[PHOTO AT LEFT - Canada’s Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, the Honorable Stockwell Day]

MANILA, NOVEMBER 14, 2009 - Deplorable conditions of evacuation centers pose persistent threats to the survival of children and families in Muntinlupa, says Save the Children

Canada’s Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, the Honorable Stockwell Day, will personally meet with and hand out essential relief items today to more than 600 families displaced by Typhoon Ketsana who are enduring overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in an evacuation center in Muntinlupa City.

Minister Day will be accompanied by the Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines, Robert Desjardins, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Head of Aid, Laurenne Garneau, along with other officials from the Canadian Embassy.

Leading Canada’s international efforts to help people in poverty, CIDA was the first international donors who responded to the situation of Filipino children and families affected by Typhoon Ketsana through an international children’s organization, Save the Children.

“It has been more than a month since the first of four consecutive typhoons hit the country. Hundreds of thousands of children and families remain in overcrowded evacuation centers and flooded communities. Save the Children is responding to this situation, but more needs to be done, particularly for children who are the most vulnerable in this kind of situation,” said Latha Caleb, Country Director of Save the Children in the Philippines.

Children living in evacuation centers and flooded communities are particularly vulnerable to diseases such as leptospirosis, cholera, acute diarrhea and upper respiratory infections. This problem is aggravated by the lack of access of families to quality basic services which they need now more than ever. “Immediate access to clean and safe sanitation and hygiene services is paramount in this response, as the risk of disease outbreak due to contaminated water and improper hygiene increases daily. Through the timely support of the Canadian government via CIDA, Save the Children was able to respond urgently to the needs of displaced children and their families through extensive distribution of water, household and hygiene items to affected families.” said Caleb.

In just one month, four strong typhoons (Ketsana, Parma, Lupit, Mirinae) hit the Philippines consecutively, devastating communities in Northern and Central Luzon. Millions of people were affected by the storms, with hundreds of thousands of people forced to take shelter in crowded evacuation centers. Over 900 people were killed and hundreds more were injured. Hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged and the economic cost of the damages from the storms is estimated at approximately USD 650 million. Three out of five people affected by the storms are children.

Save the Children’s response addresses the urgent need to protect children from any further harm and to ensure their wellbeing, which includes providing them with food, clean water, health care, access to education and safe places to play.

To date, Save the Children has reached thousands of children and families. Since the first storm hit on September 26, Save the Children has provided the following support:

· A total of 12,700 families (approximately 63,830 people, including over 38,000 children) have received packs of essential non-food items.

· Over 4,000 families have received food assistance, potable water and jerry cans

· Mobile medical teams have been deployed to help families in evacuation centers and affected communities, to date over 1,375 medical consultations have taken place, including pre-natal care. Breastfeeding support sessions have reached over 500 mothers and infants.

· 10 child-friendly spaces have been established and are attended daily by about 900 children staying in evacuation centers.

· Over 6,000 back-to-school kits have been distributed

Save the Children has been working in the Philippines for more than 28 years. Save the Children has over 90 years of experience in responding to emergencies worldwide.

ENDS

The visit will take place at the Alabang Elementary School in Muntinlupa at 3:00 p.m. Please coordinate with Gia Chu for coverage.

More information

Please contact Gia-Marie Chu, gchu@savechildren.org, + 639 178 590759 or Latha Caleb, lcaleb@savechildren.org, + 639 175 332100 for more information or media interviews

Gia-Marie S. Chu, Communications and Media Manager Save the Children in the Philippines +63 2 8523064 loc 152 gchu@savechildren.org

Save the Children is the world’s leading, independent organization for children.

www.savethechildren.net


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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