David Beckham was close to tears as he recalled the death of a four-year-old girl in the 2013 Philippines tycoon when he spoke at the United Nations (UN) yesterday (09.23.15).
The retired soccer star admitted he was “really affected” by the story of four-year-old Viana, who was swept out of her father’s arms and drowned during the 2013 Philippines typhoon.
David – a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador – recalled how he had spoken to the little girl’s parents and her sister Venus, eight, who had all survived the disaster.
He said: “On the night the typhoon hit the family were on their roof trying to protect themselves. The mother, tired, scared, exhausted, said to the father, can you please take Viana, so the father did.
“He has Venus and Viana in his arms. Unfortunately the father was knocked off the roof by one of the waves.
“He woke up six hours later holding one of the girls, Venus.”
The father-of-four’s voice then wavered and he coughed as he composed himself before continuing.
He added: “This was the night of the typhoon. A day and a half later unfortunately Viana was found face down and unfortunately she had died. This was one of the most devastating stories I heard.”
David – who has children Brooklyn, 16, Romeo, 13, Cruz, 10, and Harper, four, with wife Victoria – spoke at the launch of Voices of Youth, a global community of youth bloggers giving young people the opportunity to learn about development issues, where he expressed his desire for a safer world for children.
He said: “I want a world where children can grow up safe from war, violence, poverty and preventable disease – don’t you?”