As number of children affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan rises to 4 million, UNICEF steps up emergency response
KUALA LUMPUR/MANILA/NEW YORK, 11 November 2013 – UNICEF is rushing emergency supplies to areas of the Philippines ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan on 8 November, as the latest estimates indicate that up to 4 million children could now be affected by the disaster.
"When emergencies hit -- they hurt children most. This is especially true in the Philippines with super typhoon Haiyan," said UNICEF Representative to Malaysia, Ms. Wivina Belmonte. "UNICEF, with humanitarian partners, has deployed assessment teams to support the government to respond to this latest disaster. We are also rushing to get critical supplies to children who are bearing the brunt of this crisis."
UNICEF's first priorities are focused on life-saving interventions – getting essential medicines, nutrition, safe water and hygiene to children and families. Therapeutic food for children, health kits, water and hygiene kits to support up to 3,000 families in the affected areas have already been mobilised from supplies available in the country, with distribution prioritised for the Tacloban area as soon as access is possible.
With a presence in the Philippines since 1948, UNICEF staff already in the country are being repositioned to deliver emergency response, with more colleagues on the way to boost teams already on the ground.
UNICEF's warehouse in Copenhagen is airlifting US$1.3 million worth of additional supplies for another 10,000 families, including those affected by the recent earthquake in Bohol. The shipments contain water purification tablets, soap, medical kits, tarpaulins, and micronutrient supplements.
"Children who have survived the terrible devastation of Haiyan need urgent assistance," added Ms. Belmonte. "We're particularly concerned about their health, due to the impact of the typhoon on water supply and sanitation systems. To help children overcome the shock and trauma of what they've just witnessed, they also need safe and protected spaces to be able to play and resume studying -- its one way of reconnecting them to a familiar and grounding routine, even in the middle of the chaos."
UNICEF Malaysia has launched the "Philippines Children's Disaster Appeal" to respond to the needs of the children and families most affected by this calamity. Those who wish to donate to the Appeal in Ringgit Malaysia can visit www.helpunicef.my to make a secure online donation via credit card; or issue a crossed cheque or bank transfer payable to 'UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND-EMERGENCY'. For more information, call (03) 2092 5812 or (03) 2095 9154.
For further information, please contact:
Indra Kumari Nadchatram,
UNICEF Media, Malaysia
(+6.03) 2095 9157
+6012 292 6872
UNICEF Media, Malaysia
(+6.03) 2095 9154 ext. 2236
+6019 658 5160