MANILA, 7 December 2012 – UNICEF is providing assistance with a focus on clean water, temporary sanitation and basic supplies for families displaced by Typhoon Bopha that battered the southern Philippines.
The typhoon made landfall on 4 December, slamming into eastern Mindanao. Maximum sustained winds were 160 kilometres per hour, with gusts up to 195 kilometres per hour, across a 500-kilometre front. Areas hit by the initial force of the storm have the greatest damage and loss of life.
The worst-affected provinces were Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, which was declared in a ‘state of calamity.’ More than 450 people were reported killed and more than 500 were missing.
In mountainous areas, residents spoke of a torrent of water, mud and logs racing through villages with very little warning. Most could not recall a storm like it in living memory. United Nations joint assessment teams have so far reported that in Cateel in Davao Oriental province, the majority of houses and public infrastructure were destroyed, and people were waiting to receive emergency assistance such as food.
More than 5 million people were affected by the typhoon. UNICEF is particularly concerned about providing clean water, as initial information suggests that water systems were destroyed, damaged or contaminated.
UNICEF is providing an initial supply of 2,000 water kits, which include water containers and water purification solution to ensure clean, safe water for families. Some 2,000 hygiene kits will give families soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary napkins and other supplies to keep them healthy and free from diarrhoeal and upper-respiratory diseases that are dangerous in young children.
UNICEF is also supplying equipment to set up temporary latrines, which are becoming a high-priority need with many homes destroyed.
UNICEF has teams in the worst-affected areas assessing and responding to the needs of children and families. The agency is appealing for funds so the response continues.
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UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information, please contact:
Angela Travis, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Philippines,
Tel. + 632 901 0177,
Peter Smerdon, UNICEF New York,
Tel + 1 212 303 7984, Mobile + 1 917 213 5188,