Typhoon Haiyan drives more children in Philippines into dangerous work

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 June, 2014, 10:51pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 1:06am


More children are doing harsh and dangerous work in Philippine villages hit by Typhoon Haiyan last November than before the storm, the United Nation's labor agency said.

The International Labor Organisation said a joint assessment made in March and April by the UN and other humanitarian organizations and Philippine authorities showed 54 per cent of 112 surveyed villages reported that children were involved in harsh and dangerous labor, with 39 percent of them saying the number of such children increased after the typhoon struck.

The typhoon killed more than 6,300 people and displaced 4 million others, worsening poverty in the central Philippines.

The villages and 125 schools surveyed were randomly selected from two central regions most affected by Haiyan, with individuals interviewed from each village or school.

Giovanni Soledad of the ILO's child labor program said it was not clear how many more children started working in dangerous conditions after the typhoon. He said further assessments would be done to find out where the children were so services could reach them.

Government data prior to the typhoon showed that, in 2011, there were 1.6 million child workers aged five to 17 in the two regions covered by the assessment. Of those, more than 450,000 were engaged in hazardous work.

Many work in farms and as household workers. Others are vendors, construction workers, fishermen, scrap collectors or pedicab drivers.