Westport's Save The Children: Help Is On The Way After Typhoon

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Rafael, 10, with his family, is a Typhoon Haiyan survivor from the Philippines. Photo Credit: Save The Children
Aid workers from Westport-based Save The Children took photos of the devastation in Tacloban, Philippines, after the storm passed. The building are flattened and more than 3 feet of floodwater is standing in the roads. Photo Credit: Save The Children

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Westport-based Save The World is reaching out to help victims of deadly Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, which struck the Philippines and Vietnam and killed 10,000 people or more. 

A rapid response team from Save the Children has already been deployed to meet the needs of children in the cities of Ormac and Tacloban, where the super typhoon hit with deadly force. In Vietnam, Save the Children has an emergency response team ready to assist communities affected by the superstorm. It has warehouses in Hanoi and Da Nang stocked with 6,000 household, hygiene, and education kits ready for distribution.

"Our teams on the ground are experiencing very difficult conditions. There is considerable debris on the roads, very few operational vehicles and the airports are closed," Save the Children Philippine's Deputy Director Ned Olney said on the organization's website. "We're currently purchasing pickup trucks so we can move supplies around and are looking at how we can fly in extra emergency relief items. ... Our staff are finding it hard to access clean water and food."

Olney said security was another concern. "Our teams have seen looting in Tacloban. People are just so desperate to survive right now," he said.

The website includes a story of survival from Rafael, 10. His father was killed by a collapsed all, Rafael was swept away in floodwaters. 

"I swam and swam and every time I was tired I would cling to a log. Then I would swim again. It was a miracle that I survived," Rafael told Save the Children. "When I was swimming, the rain felt like needles on my face. I was very afraid for my mother and siblings as well as I thought they were all dead."

The 10-year-old eventually fell asleep. "When I woke up it was a miracle because I was in another village." He was miraculously reunited with his mother and siblings. They are now living in a van outside the center as they cannot stand the stench inside.

"We are getting sick, my siblings are always coughing because it is very cold and we don't have any dry clothes at the moment. We don't have anything with us," he said. The children are drinking water from a hose and it is not clean.

The storm's path of destruction is more than 300 miles wide. The megastorm is projected to be one of the worst in recorded history. According to the latest report from CNN, up to 10,000 people have perished due to the catastrophic typhoon.

Lynette Lyn, communications manager in Asia for Save the Children, wrote a post for the group's website on Sunday from Tacloban, Philippines, about the deadly storm. 

"Strong winds and heavy rains seemed manageable at first, but after an hour of constant pounding, I knew something was about to give way," Lyn wrote. "All four sides of this building in the Department of Education compound were hit. After the glass windows broke on one side, all six staff from Save the Children including myself evacuated to the next, and then next, until we found ourselves in our final safe room."

Lyn and the other staffers worried about the safety of the children in the town, who live in less sturdy buildings with zinc roof, as the rain pounded and the wind swept branches and debris through the area.

"At the height of the storm’s prowess, the only thing I could see was the tree about to crash through the window while hoping that the ceiling would not fall on us," Lyn wrote. 

"We know that the storm we’ve just seen must have brought about severe damage and destruction, and possibly the loss of many lives."

Save the Children will be working to reach the worst-affected children and their families, she said.

To make a donation to Save the Children to help with its work, visit the group's website

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