Students rally to typhoon relief effort as charities address destruction of schools - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 12 November

Students rally to typhoon relief effort as charities address destruction of schools

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 12 November

Photograph: Getty

By Helen Ward

As news of the full horrific aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan has emerged in recent days, it has also become clear that the consequences for the local education system and the pupils it educates have been drastic, too.

Many schools were told to close in the Philippines on Friday as Haiyan approached, and some were turned into evacuation centres afterwards.

But in the worst-hit areas, such as the regional city of Tacloban, most of the buildings were unable to withstand what is believed to be the most powerful storm ever recorded on land.

Winds of around 147mph and up to 400mm of rain hit the eastern shore of the Philippines on Friday, devastating six of the country’s islands as it swept west. Children were among the worst affected. Lynette Lim, Asia communications manager at Save the Children, was in Tacloban during the storm. She said that blocked roads and fuel shortages were hindering relief efforts, and that people were looting stores out of desperation.

She added that since many schools had been destroyed, Save the Children was planning to distribute school tents with tables and boards to help children start learning again as soon as possible. “The longer children stay out of school, the more likely they will drop out,” she said.

Simon Mann, head of the British School in Manila (BSM), in the capital of the Philippines, is among those who have joined the relief effort. Manila was not hit by the typhoon but the families of staff and students have been affected. The school’s Red Cross youth group, which has 60 members, has helped to organise and pack 800 emergency food packs, and has raised 600,000 pesos (£8,600).

“We have over 40 staff at BSM, who have family on the ground in the affected areas. Some of them they have not been able to contact, and/or are still missing, and many now have no homes,” Mr Mann told TES.

“For BSM, it is about us finding ways for our community to respond and feel like they are making a difference. Some of this is a physical response: packing care parcels, loading trucks, carrying donation buckets. And some is being able to provide either goods or money. The compelling desire to do something is felt by all members of our community.

There is, however, a concern about what will happen once the news coverage moves on. “We feel that, given the outpouring of support internationally at this time, we will be reserving significant portions of the funds to support the rebuilding of homes. Our concern is that once the emergency support is over, there will still be thousands of displaced and homeless families, and comparatively little financial support.”

The Disasters Emergency Committee is running a dedicated campaign for those who want to donate to the relief effort in the Philippines. For more details, go to the DEC website.

Photograph: Getty


1. What is a typhoon? Can you think of any other types of natural disasters?
2. In your opinion, do disasters like this bring out the best or the worst in people? Explain your reasoning.
3. What are the best ways for us to help victims of natural disasters?
4. We hear of natural disasters very frequently in the news. What might be the reasons for this?

Related resources

Researching natural disasters

  • This research lesson from Google allows students to make use of their thinking skills whilst also engaging learners with ICT, geography and citizenship.

The need for charity

  • These resources give students a chance to learn about different types of charity aid and let them try out their skills in an imaginary aid mission to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Crazy climates

  • This worksheet pack explores some extreme climates as well as issues such as climate change and global warming.

Ways to combat climate change

  • This lesson explores some of the ways to reduce the negative effects of climate change and has plenty of opportunity for debate.

Typhoon Haiyan assembly resources

  • Use this short film and assembly PowerPoint presentation to learn about the impact of Typhoon Haiyan.

Further news resources

First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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It might seem like something straight out of a science fiction film, but driverless cars – and even buses – are becoming very much a reality.

Marvel Entertainment is introducing one of the first ever female Muslim comic-book superheroes in an effort to explore what it means to be a Muslim growing up in modern America.

India’s first space mission to Mars was successfully launched with the country’s space agency hoping to become the fourth to reach the red planet.

A hoard of about 1,500 valuable works of art, looted by the Nazis more than 70 years ago, has been found in a flat in the German city of Munich.

In the news archive index