ECCD Council to launch Christmas drive for children affected by typhoons

November 29, 2009 2:24 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 29 -– The Early Childhood Care and Development Council (ECCD) is launching an early Christmas drive dubbed as Paskong Pambata for children ages up to six years affected by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

The Philippine National Disaster Coordinating Council said more than 890,000 families were affected by the floodwaters and mudslides brought by the typhoons.

Over 30,000 families are still in evacuation centers and are depending on donations for their daily necessities. Half of the numbers are estimated to be children.

“Christmas are for little children. We want them to feel the joy of Christmas in the midst of their dire circumstances,” said ECCD Council chair Tessie Aquino-Oreta.

Having a semblance of normalcy in the evacuation centers could help the children cope with the trauma they experienced in the typhoons, Oreta said.

Amidst this, the ECCD Council chair called on kind-hearted individuals and humanitarian organizations to partner with the council in helping the children experience the spirit of Christmas by donating stuffed toys, art materials and other gift items.

She said the council welcomes volunteers who would be willing to hold Christmas parties for children.

Studies show that huggable toys and art activities help children cope with stress. On the other hand, Christmas parties in evacuation centers could give children a sense of normalcy in their abnormal situation.

“We are helping different institutions in providing assistance to our fellow Filipinos who were affected by the twin typhoons. We want to see them go back to their normal lives but we know that it takes time,” Oreta said.

The ECCD Council has been coordinating with different government and private institutions in assisting typhoon victims.

So far, it provided assistance to 10,000 families with children ages zero to six years old.

Oreta said children are among the most vulnerable during disasters. Treating their needs as equal to adults may pose a bigger problem.

In the absence of a clear policy agenda for children during emergencies, ECCDC hoped to institutionalize disaster response specific to the needs of the children under such age group.

“People may not have realized it but sometimes the effect of tragedy may take years to manifest,” Aquino-Oreta said.

“Now that the government is doing preemptive measures for disasters, maybe we can include child care through the social welfare department in the policies,” she added.

Donations for Paskong Pambata may be sent to the ECCD Council office located at the 5th floor of PDAF Building, 407 Gil Puyat Ave. (near EDSA), Makati City. (PNA)

LDV/HCT

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