The Enriquez family is one of the last families that got evacuated in the town of Lemery Batangas. Evacuees are being transported by both government workers and private citizens to evacuation centers in near by towns.
Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV
In Photos: Taal unrest leaves children homeless
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - January 22, 2020 - 12:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — A global child welfare organization has expressed concern over the displacement of children affected by the after effects of Taal Volcano's unrest, which could possibly last for months. 

Save the Children Philippines, in a statement on Wednesday, said that because of the potentially months-long there was an urgent need for temporary schools for pupils who are missing out on classes to continue their schooling despite their displacement. 

In an earlier statement, the humanitarian group also warned that the cramped conditions in many of the makeshift evacuation centers coupled with being away from home for extended periods could have profound psychosocial effects on adults and children alike. 

"Being made homeless puts these children at serious risk of abuse and exploitation," Save the Children Philippines Humanitarian Manager Jerome Balinton said in a statement sent to Philstar.com on Wednesday. 

"Children in the evacuation centers are forced to bathe with little or no privacy, sharing the same facilities as adults. Mothers have told Save the Children they’re worried for their teenage daughters, many of whom don’t have any sanitary pads or even underwear as they were forced to flee quickly when the volcano began erupting."

As seen in photos provided by Save the Children in a release, even toddlers are forced to make do with the cramped conditions of an evacuation center in Balayan, Batangas.

One child evacuee, they said, celebrated his first birthday as an evacuee in the school-turned-evacuation center. 

(Photos by LJ Pasion/Save the Children)

READ: In Photos: Over 20,000 children among those evacuated amid Taal unrest

Wednesday's 6 a.m. situation report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said that while there was a total of 148,987 persons taking shelter in temporary evacuation centers, there were also over 90,000 persons who were displaced but were not accomodated in these evacuation centers and were instead "served outside" of them. 

State volcanology bureau Phivolcs said earlier that Taal's unrest could possibly last for months, even having to defend their pronouncements after some local leaders chose to defy their scientifically-backed claims. Alert Level 4 has been hoisted over the volcano for over a week, which indicates that a volcanic eruption is possible within hours to days.

Along with this, labor and fisherfolk groups have cast fear over the loss of income that prolonged displacement would inevitably bring. 

READ: 'Support, not donations': Group urges DOH to lift Taal fish advisory, provide help

“The emotional and psychosocial stress of being made suddenly homeless and surrounded by so many strangers in such close proximity are taking a toll on children. It’s vital that we meet their immediate needs for food, clothing, clean water, hygiene and healthcare, while recognizing that they need long-term solutions as well," Balinton said. 

"This means setting up temporary schools so children can return to a normal routine while they wait for the fury of the volcano to subside.” 

SAVE THE CHILDREN PHILIPPINES TAAL VOLCANO ERUPTION 2020
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