Francine Uenuma 202.640.6810 (O), 202.450.9153 (M)
|Liza, 11 pins her Christmas wish to a Christmas tree at a Save the Children-run Christmas party in Estancia, Philippines, one of the communities hard-hit by Typhoon Haiyan. Photo by Jacob Maentz/Save The Children.
WESTPORT, Conn. (Dec. 23, 2013) — More than 1,500 Filipino children whose homes and communities were devastated in Typhoon Haiyan are enjoying Christmas parties hosted by Save the Children.
In and around the devastated city of Tacloban, seasonal events have been held at 27 child friendly spaces. While in Estancia — a badly damaged municipality 300 miles away – parties with games like pass the parcel were also arranged for typhoon-affected children.
More than six weeks after one of the fiercest storms ever recorded lashed the country, about 4.1 million people in the Philippines are still displaced. Some of these evacuated families are living in schools.
Romulo, age 11, said: "We live in classrooms. It is not our home. But we have no other option. If we live in our own house I think we would get sick because of the oil spill."
Romulo helps his parents look after his three younger siblings. He would like school materials for Christmas, as everything except his science notebook has been destroyed.
Eugene, age 12, said: "The strong winds blew the roof off my house — I was inside at the time. I was so afraid we would die."
For Christmas, Eugene would like restored nature and hope in the Philippines.
Liza, age 11, said: "My family has tried to rebuild our home and we have put some tarpaulin over the roof, but there are still gaps."
She would like Santa to bring a Christmas tree and lots of presents.
Ned Olney, country director for Save the Children in the Philippines, said: "Christmas will be a somber time in the Philippines this year. It will be especially tough for the children who were made homeless and lost loved ones during typhoon Haiyan."
"We are doing everything we can to give them basics like food and shelter, a chance to learn in temporary schools, and some fun with activities like the Christmas parties."
"Thanks to everyone who gave to Philippines relief appeals and made this possible."
Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in 120 countries, including the United States. We aim to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives by improving their health, education and economic opportunities. In times of acute crisis, we mobilize rapid assistance to help children recover from the effects of war, conflict and natural disasters. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.