MORE than 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes for emergency shelters, after typhoon Bopha ripped through the Philippines - reports Plan International.
Official figures put the number killed at 327 but 380 are still missing and hundreds more injured.
The storm hit the southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday and aid agencies expect the death toll to rise.
“Our teams are in the worst-hit areas in Mindanao and are reporting scenes of total devastation,” says Plan International’s Country Director in the Philippines, Carin Van der Hor.
“We are bracing ourselves for the numbers of dead to go up exponentially in the next few days.”
Plan is distributing food supplies, hygiene kits and emergency shelter to 2,500 families.
The organisation is intending to scale up its response in one of the worst-hit areas of the Compostela Valley, to reach another 33,000 families.
“I am in hourly contact with Plan teams on the ground – they see a lot of houses completely washed away or buried under mudslides,” explains Carin Van der Hor.
“They see people who have died because of flash floods, trucks swept away during a last and desperate attempt to evacuate.”
“People have not only lost houses, many have lost their crops and will return from the evacuation centres to find they have nothing.”
As well as emergency relief, Plan will be working to keep children safe from harm and to allow them to continue their education.
The NGO has worked on disaster-response in the Philippines for the past five years.
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Notes to editors
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· giving children a healthy start in life, including access to safe drinking water
· securing the education of girls and boys
· working with communities to prepare for and survive disasters
· inspiring children to take a lead in decisions that affect their lives
· enabling families to earn a living and plan for their children’s future.
We do what’s needed, where it’s needed most. We do what you would do. With your support children, families and entire communities have the power to move themselves from a life of poverty to a future with opportunity.
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4) Plan was founded by British journalist John Langdon-Davies in 1937 to rescue orphans and other vulnerable children from the Spanish Civil War.
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7) Sponsorship starts at £15-a-month and, rather than going to individual children and their families, funds projects to improve schooling, health, nutrition and livelihoods across communities.
8) Plan's activities are guided by the principals of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other internationally-recognised human rights treaties, and is informed by the local context and knowledge of the country and region.