For people living in poverty, natural disasters are especially devastating. Typhoons, tornadoes and earthquakes can lay waste to people's lives in mere minutes, and in countries with few financial resources, recovery can take many years. Adverse weather often has a significant long-term impact on agriculture and infrastructure, making it even harder for developing nations to recover. ChildFund understands the importance of responsive aid in the wake of natural disasters, which is why we implement disaster-response initiatives that help families rebuild their lives after emergencies.
Because widespread damage to buildings is common during typhoons, tsunamis and earthquakes, providing the essentials of water, food and shelter is the most pressing issue immediately after a disaster. This need was demonstrated by the heavy flooding caused by Typhoon Bopha, a powerful tropical storm that hit the Philippines last year.
The flooding that followed Bopha displaced thousands of families, and as typhoons in the farthest southern part of the Philippines are fairly uncommon, the hardest-hit area was not as prepared as other regions for the destructive force unleashed by the storm. Fortunately, children and families participating in ChildFund programs in the region were unharmed, and our disaster-preparation efforts, in partnership with national and local government agencies, helped families learn about evacuation plans and the need to stock food supplies. If the Mindanao region is affected by a future storm, the residents will be better prepared.
Aside from the obvious physical danger that natural disasters pose, emotional and psychological trauma can be a long-lasting repercussion, especially for children too young to understand what happened. For many years, ChildFund has helped children with psychosocial counseling following natural disasters and warfare.
When an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 shook Guatemala last year, ChildFund was there to help. We worked with local partners to restore infrastructure and homes for families displaced by the quake, and we also offered counseling led by psychologists to more than 12,000 children suffering from emotional distress. Some children lost their homes, and frequent aftershocks reminded everyone of the quake.
To help ChildFund provide essential support during times of crisis, please consider making a donation to our ChildAlert Emergency Fund. Your generosity will enable us to quickly respond to emergencies and help families recover physically and emotionally from devastation.