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Fourth typhoon in a month brings more damage to the Philippines

Family in flooded street
© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-1447/Mike Alquinto
A family sits atop a raft in Pasig City in Manila, in the aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana last month.

Typhoon Mirinae (known locally as Santi), has crossed the Philippines south of the capital Manila, bringing high winds and rain to an area still struggling to recover from Typhoon Ketsana (Tropical Storm Ondoy).

It is the fourth major storm to affect the Philippines in a month. Parts of Manila are still under water from the previous typhoons, which killed more than 900 people in recent weeks.

“The reports from Manila are not as bad as had been expected,” Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF Representative in the Philippines, told the BBC. “But we are getting reports from the South, particularly around Bicol which was hit in 2006 by mudslides, that there has been heavy rain and significant damage there.”

In Taytay, Rizal province, slum houses have been destroyed by strong winds, leaving around 5,000 people homeless. UNICEF is evaluating their humanitarian needs, including for shelter. There are reports on local radio that one man died while crossing a river in Rizal, and another drowned when his home was washed away in Manila.

The latest typhoon will complicate the ongoing relief effort, which is expected to continue for several months. Only last week, Pinagbuhatan Elementary School opened for the first time following the devastation caused by Typhoon Ketsana. It was the last school to reopen in the Pasig City area of Metro Manila.

For children who have been through the stress of losing their schools, homes and in some cases loved ones to the previous floodwaters, this new typhoon can only bring more distress and uncertainty.

UNICEF is currently appealing for $22 million to fund the recover and rehabilitation of families, especially children. We currently have $7 million committed but we need more in order to continue this vital work.

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