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The perfect storm: Typhoon Rai devastates children in the Philippines

Home > Learn More > Stories & News > The perfect storm: Typhoon Rai devastates children in the Philippines

Posted on 12/21/2021

The holidays are a time of great fanfare in the Philippines, celebrated with singing, feasting and parades. But last week, thousands of children had their celebrations cut short when a superstorm battered their communities and destroyed everything they know.

Typhoon Rai made landfall on the Philippine coast on December 16, 2021, bringing massive flooding and strong winds that ripped through homes like paper. Within 24 hours, the typhoon had intensified into the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds around 100 miles per hour. 

Rai has been called one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the southern Philippines. As the death toll rises to nearly 400, hundreds of thousands of displaced families face the daunting task of struggling to rebuild. Many children are spending the remainder of the Christmas season in temporary shelters, uncertain of what the future holds.

The impact of Typhoon Rai

The story of Typhoon Rai’s impact on the southern and central Philippines is still unfolding. Currently, ChildFund estimates that nearly 800,000 people were in the storm’s direct path, with nearly 300,000 seeking temporary shelter. Flights have been cancelled, seaports have been closed, and many roads remain impassable. Reports are still coming in regarding infrastructure damage.

We’ve checked in with our two local partner organizations in the area for headcounts, and we are relieved to report that most of the children we work with are safe. We are still waiting for more information from our local partner organization CHILD Initiative about the children in Bacolod City and San Joaquin, the hardest hit communities. We work with 1,355 children in these areas. 

Damaged homes after Typhoon Rai.
Hundreds of thousands of homes were flattened by the typhoon’s strong winds.

ChildFund is on the ground in the Philippines providing immediate relief, working with children and families to identify their most urgent needs. Many children and families are in need of basic items like food and water. Even more are in need of assistance rebuilding their homes and livelihoods. In the meantime, children need safe places within the temporary shelters to play, learn and just be kids while their parents navigate the long road to recovery. 

In any disaster, ChildFund’s response focuses on meeting children’s most immediate needs for health and safety. We work alongside the government and other nonprofit organizations to fill in the gaps in the emergency response so that children can thrive in spite of the trauma they have experienced. No storm is too big for our caring supporters to make a difference in the lives of kids affected – and that’s where you come in.

Damage from Typhoon Rai.
Wreckage of homes and boats along the Filipino coast.

How to help survivors of Typhoon Rai  

Your support will help our team in the Philippines deliver essential goods and services to hard-to-reach children and families in areas of Bacolod City and San Joaquin that have been devastated by the storm. Given the scale of the disaster, we are also considering how to respond in non-program areas, particularly in Northern Mindanao, another hard-hit province. 

We will keep you updated on how your support is helping children and families facing this difficult time. Join us and be a source of hope for children in their time of greatest need.

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Mother in the Philippines holds a baby amid the damage after Typhoon Rai.

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