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Baby Tents: Providing a Safe Place to Help Children Heal After Typhoon Haiyan
In honor of Universal Children’s Day, we’re focusing on Action Against Hunger’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of children around the world. There is perhaps no better recent example of how we’re promoting children’s health than in the Philippines, where our teams are hard at work providing emergency assistance to displaced typhoon survivors—including thousands of vulnerable children.
“Baby Tents”: Providing critical care for children
Typhoon Haiyan has affected nearly thirteen million people across the Philippines—nearly six million of whom are children. As we scale up emergency relief efforts, we’re implementing programs specifically designed to help children get the support they need. For example, our teams in Tacloban have established “baby tents,” which are special recovery centers where mothers and their children can receive urgent care.
These baby tents serve as a secure space for mothers to nurse their babies. Breastfeeding is essential for children’s development and, according to the World Health Organization, can reduce their risk of becoming severely malnourished. But, as Elena Rivero, Head of Nutrition for Action Against Hunger’s headquarters in Spain, explains, nursing after a disaster can be difficult for some women:
“Thousands of women are having trouble producing milk as a result of post-traumatic stress caused by the typhoon. But suddenly stopping nursing can have dire consequences on the health and nutritional status of children under two years old, because they are suddenly deprived of their main source of nutrients and the immune defenses that breast milk provides.”
– Elena Rivero, Head of Nutrition, Action Against Hunger, Spain
A safe space for traumatized mothers and babies
In addition to providing critical medical and nutritional care, we’re making sure that mothers and children also receive the emotional support they need in the aftermath of this tragedy. Amador Gomez, Technical Director for Action Against Hunger’s headquarters in Spain, explains how baby tents offer families a safe place to heal both physically and psychologically:
“In the baby tents, we’re also providing psychological support to typhoon survivors. Our aim is to re-establish and support the bond between a mother and her child by creating a healthy emotional environment for them both to recover. These interventions, while not obvious at first glance, are of crucial importance to children’s health in times of emergency.”
– Amador Gomez, Technical Director, Action Against Hunger, Spain
These family-focused programs have been successful as part of our response to other emergencies, so establishing baby tents is a priority during the first phase of our emergency relief efforts in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. With your support, we can provide thousands of mothers and their young children with the specialized care that they need to recover.