In her role as ACEI’s country liaison from the Philippines, Michelle Lalunio, provided some information about how Filipino children and schools are faring in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
In times of disaster and emergency, children are among the most vulnerable as they are forced to cope with separation from their families, loss of loved-ones, and lack of basic nourishment. The chaos of an emergency situation often leaves children traumatized, disoriented, and in shock. A particular consequence of natural disasters, such as Super-Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, is the destruction of schools, which contributes to children’s loss of routine, normalcy, and safety. For long-term reconstruction and development, rehabilitation of the education infrastructure is an essential part of the process.
Michelle Lalunio shared with us a report on how the Department of Education (DepEd) of the Philippines is responding to the situation. According to the report, the DepEd Secretary instructed public elementary and high schools in Cebu, Manila, and nearby regions to accept “emergency transferees” from cities and provinces affected by the typhoon even if they cannot present their school records, which is one of the usual requirements for the transferring procedure. This step was taken to ensure the immediate return to classes of students who were affected and displaced by Typhoon Haiyan. Private schools were also encouraged to accommodate the emergency transferees.
The DepEd Secretary also ordered an immediate account of missing and injured personnel in the Visayas islands, the region hardest hit by the typhoon. Teachers and personnel in that area will also undergo psychosocial debriefing before classes resume. Stress debriefing talks and seminars for public school teachers are already being provided by the military in the Cebu province of the Visayas.
A full report is expected on 22 November 2013, which will document the extent of loss and damages to the school infrastructure in the Visayas region. The report will detail the DepEd’s rehabilitation plan and budget allocation for reconstruction efforts.
Michelle Lalunio is a Community Involvement Officer of De la Salle Lipa in Batangas, Philippines. De la Salle Lipa is an “integrated school” that provides preschool, elementary, secondary, and tertiary education. Michelle has served as country liaison to the Philippines for ACEI since 2012.
Yolanda Damaged 90% of school Infra in Tacloban – Luistro (Rappler.com, retrieved 19 Nov 2013)
DepEd Allows “Emergency Transfers” from Yolanda-stricken Schools (Philippines DepEd, retrieved 19 Nov 2013)
DepEd Tracks Typhoon Yolanda Affected Personnel (Philiippines DepEd, retrieved 19 Nov 2013)