Philippines Flooding Endangers Thousands of Children

Anna Lindenfors

Anna Lindenfors, Philippines Country Director

Manila, Philippines

December 19, 2011

It must have been terrifying. Flash floods create a fast moving body of water, sweeping away everything in its path. Cars, trees, people.

Yesterday morning (night-time in the Philippines) very heavy rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks and flood the area – killing hundreds and leaving thousands more stranded, without food or shelter, in the middle of the night.

Save the Children’s team on the ground launched into action immediately – assessing the damage on the most vulnerable children and their families.

Travelling along the highway you can see bodies lined up – waiting to be identified. Of the hundreds of dead, there are only a few injured. This is not unusual in a flood. Very few people caught up in the path of a flash flood will survive. Most of the dead were children, again not a surprise. Children are smaller, lighter and less likely to know where to go in an emergency. Those that survived will be cold, exhausted and terrified. Some will have been separated from their parents in the chaos.

Several of Save the Children’s team are coping with personal tragedy while responding to the flooding. One tells me their family didn’t survive intact. The debris of a destroyed house fell on top of a relative, killing her. Another tells me that water levels are so high their home is completely uninhabitable. They are worried about electrocution, so can’t return home. Yet another reports that they have run out of coffins in the town, and he doesn’t know what will happen.

The team carries on anyway, urgently struggling through debris and floodwater to reach the victims of the crisis. Several had been on the phone through the night, trying to comfort those stranded on rooftops of houses. 

The next few days are critical. Children are always the most vulnerable during emergencies – and in the aftermath. Stagnant water and tainted supplies can cause disease. Longer term children will face hunger and malnutrition – in a country where 30% of the population already live beneath the poverty line, lost food stocks and lost income can push families over the brink.

50,000 children have been caught up in the flash flooding, and we’re working around the clock to reach vulnerable children and adults before it is too late. Please help us.

Save the Children is launching an emergency response to help victims of the flooding. Our experts are on the ground to distribute drinking water and essential items to families affected by the disaster. 


  1. Dear Anna, Thank you for all the work you are doing. I am sure you are very busy responding to this crisis but if you were able, I would be interested in knowing whether there is any way I am able to assist as a volunteer as I was planning to holiday in the Philippines for 2 months and will be arriving in 2 weeks. My thoughts are with you all

  2. Thank you so much for the work you are doing. I am a senior at Abington Senior High School in Pennsylvania and a member of H2O For Life. This year at my school we are raising money for the Kolubi School near Lake Sebo. Do you know how they have fared in the recent typhoon? Do they have any paticular needs aside from the water, which we are working on, where we may be able to help? Thank you for all that you are doing. We look forward to hearning about the welfare of our new friends.

  3. can you come in cagayan de oro city to have a follow-up programs for the children..?

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  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Save the Children.


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