Typhoon Haiyan and the benefit of sponsorship for children affected by disasters

After Typhoon Haiyan slammed the Philippines in November, World Vision staff members moved quickly to find each child and family enrolled in sponsorship to identify their needs and concerns.

By Florence Joy Malyuo, World Vision Philippines
Published March 26, 2014 at 10:45am PDT

After Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines in November, World Vision staff went door to door to locate the nearly 40,000 children registered in its sponsorship program.

The monster storm devastated 20 development project areas where World Vision works, including Bohol province, which had also been badly damaged by an earlier earthquake. At last count, the project areas had 38,945 children registered with World Vision. U.S. donors sponsor more than 5,600 of those children, in Leyte and Antique provinces.

‘We don’t just account for the children, but we also listen to what they have to say’

World Vision staff members moved quickly to find each child and family enrolled in sponsorship. Travel was tough with debris and impassable roads. Communication proved even tougher; power lines and cell phone towers were down.

“We did [counting] house to house, registered child to registered child,” World Vision program officer Francis Carreon explains. “It was challenging to verify the location of the children and the situation of families, since many of them were busy looking for help. We also had to go back the following week to do a re-count and verify their situations.”

Staff noted each family’s concerns: health, physical and emotional well-being, economic recovery, and schooling. For children who lost family members in the storm, staff devoted time and space to children’s psychosocial needs, says Emely Buscato, a child sponsorship quality specialist for World Vision.

“We had to make sure that we don’t just account for the children, but we also listen to what they have to say,” Francis says.

Caring staff help children recover emotionally

For World Vision-sponsored child Kim, the opportunity to talk about her fears with a caring adult was a turning point in her recovery.

On November 20, World Vision began relief distributions on Panay Island, where Kim’s family lives.

“World Vision staff came to our place to check on us. We were asked about what we went through and how we felt,” she says. “I felt good after crying my fear out to the staff. She was the first to hear my story because I didn’t want my parents to worry about me.”

Kim said because of their kindness, she felt like World Vision staff were her own ates and kuyas (older sisters and brothers).

Four months after the typhoon, Kim’s family is still living in a makeshift house, struggling to cover expenses. Despite their losses and the memories that haunt them, Kim says they are hopeful for the future.

“It feels great to know that despite the typhoon that hit our community, there are people who continue to help, support, and remember us. Thank you very much,” she says.

How you can respond

Please pray for World Vision staff members in countries around the world who go to great lengths to account for World Vision sponsored children in emergency situations and help them through the recovery process.

Sponsor a child in the Philippines. In the aftermath of a disaster like Typhoon Haiyan, sponsorship builds resilience for a child and entire community, providing them with life-saving basics and the ability to better cope with crises.

Make a one-time donation to World Vision’s Disaster Response Fund. Your gift will help us rush emergency items like life-saving food, clean water, medical supplies, and shelter to survivors in disaster situations.

Highlights

  • When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines last November, World Vision had nearly 40,000 sponsored children registered in the disaster area.
  • World Vision staff members took pains to locate these children and determine their physical and emotional needs.
  • World Vision continues helping families and communities devastated by the storm with basic recovery and rebuilding assistance.

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