Children are taking action and speaking up on climate emergency as extreme weather events continue to pose threats on their right to survive, access to education and well-being. Save the Children Philippines, an independent organization aimed at creating better lives for children in the Philippines and across the world, is marking World Sustainability Day on 28 October by highlighting calls for a unified action and strengthening of public awareness to address the impact of climate emergency.
Save the Children has launched the #RedAlertonClimate to inform the public about the climate emergency during the pandemic and provide a platform for children to speak up to change the future. According to a recent survey of 41 children and youth by Save the Children Philippines, children say their well-being is affected by frequent flooding, droughts and heat waves preventing them to do things they used to do including going to school.
Atty. Alberto Muyot, chief executive officer of Save the Children Philippines, says the survey which was carried out between 8 to 17 October focussed on children and youth from Metro Manila, Eastern Visayas and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao. He says children are speaking up and we have to listen and consider their perspectives in the actions and decisions that we take in preventing climate and environment catastrophe.
“I can’t play outside. Flooding and air pollution make me sick,” says one of the child respondents. The organization says the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the situation for children and their families who were affected by a series of extreme weather events including Typhoon Quinta (Molave).
Typhoon Quinta formed on 23 October east of Palau becoming a typhoon on 25 October that flattened farmlands, destroyed houses and public infrastructures in the Bicol region and nearby provinces in Luzon. It was the 17th typhoon to hit the region this year and had wind speeds of 125 kilometers (77 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 150 kph (93.2 mph) leaving the main Luzon with heavy rain causing seven landslides and floods in 11 areas on 26 October.
Muyot says Save the Children Philippines advocates the Children's Emergency Relief and Protection Act directing national and local government agencies to implement and sustain a comprehensive emergency program. He says this program aims to protect children as well as pregnant and lactating mothers from disasters and emergencies.
“We have a global vision to create better lives for children in the Philippines and across the world. The most vulnerable children are paying the price of climate crisis as they suffer from irreversible, life-long, health and social impacts of missing school and malnutrition. We have to listen and work to fulfill their right to live in a safer and sustainable world,” says Muyot.