UN helps children in storm-hit Philippines

December 29th, 2011 - 4:22 am ICT by IANS  

United Nations, Dec 29 (IANS) The UN Children’s Fund has pledged to provide safe learning environments for children in the storm-ravaged cities of the Philippines. It will also give about $350,000 to rebuild educational facilities and replace damaged or lost learning materials.

At least 1,100 people were killed when tropical storm Washi hit the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan on the island of Mindanao Dec 17. It caused flash floods and landslides.

Thousands of children were affected. Homeless villagers have made public buildings, including schools, as their temporary shelters.

Unicef has called for safe and uninterrupted access to learning for children afflicted by the storm, Xinhua reported Wednesday.

Forward planning to preserve a child’s right to education is one of the most valuable actions a government can take before disasters strike, said Margareta Wahlstrom, the UN secretary-general’s special representative on disaster risk reduction.

Wahlstrom stressed that education was critical to children’s long-term opportunities and must not be interrupted.

According to the government, about 40,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the storm and over 60,000 people were being sheltered in the evacuation centres.

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