Children at risk of exploitation in storm ravaged southern Philippines

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Children left homeless and destitute in areas affected by Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines are in danger of being abused and exploited, according to the UN Children's agency UNICEF.

The agency says pressing issues for children have received less attention in the aftermath of the devastating typhoon, exposing them to the risk of trafficking.

UNICEF says although commendable work was being done to respond in the aftermath of the typhoon, it is important to pay attention to the vulnerability of children, as unscrupulous adults can take advantage of these situations to exploit children.

Marixie Mercado from UNICEF says malnutrition levels in the affected regions are likely to worsen in the coming months due to food shortages and the fact that many children have been left to fend for themselves.

"Assessment teams in Mindanao are seeing profound signs of distress and confusion among children many who've lost loved ones, they've lost their families, they've lost their homes their schools, they are just under severe distress and very much vulnerable. All the agencies are urging awareness in terms of prevention. We are also stressing the importance of setting up child friendly spaces in all of these communities so that children have safe places to go to."

UNICEF says the number of missing or dead following typhoon Bopha has topped 1,600.

Patrick Maigua United Nations radio Geneva

Duration 1.20″

 

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