UNICEF provides immediate assistance to children affected by Ondoy
MANILA, 29 September 2009 — UNICEF has provided about Php 6,908,330 million in supplies to address the urgent needs of affected children and their families in the wake of tropical storm Ondoy. Within 24 hours of the storm hitting Manila, UNICEF supplied food and non-food items, as well as temporary shelter to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for distribution to flood-stricken communities.
UNICEF expressed great concern over the growing number of children and families affected by storm Ondoy (international codename Ketsana) which dumped a month’s worth of rain in 12 hours, flooding 25 per cent of Metro Manila and affecting more than 24 provinces around the country. The death toll has risen to 240, and is expected to still rise as relief and recovery efforts continue.
Data from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) revealed that around 1.8 million people were affected, with 600,000 people being relocated in around 600 evacuation centers. Some families are still trapped on upper levels or roofs of houses awaiting rescue.
“Our hearts go out to the thousands of children and families who have been affected by the storm, whether they are still trapped in their homes or living in evacuation centers. This is a very difficult experience for any child, especially for those who have lost their loved ones,” Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF Representative, said.
UNICEF is in constant coordination with the government and other humanitarian agencies to deliver much-needed goods and services to the displaced. They formed part of an assessment team composed of emergency specialists and have travelled to many sites today to find out how children are being affected by the massive flooding.
“I visited the flooded sites of Taguig, Mandaluyong and Quezon City today, and was shocked by the level of devastation in many communities. But what also struck me was the amazing co-operation and generosity of the people of the capital, who have opened up their homes to assist others less fortunate in their neighbourhoods," Tobin said.
“Water and sanitation are issues that need immediate action. In the next 48 hours, we will be delivering 2,000 more hygiene kits, essential medicines, water purification tablets, portable toilets and family kits containing blankets and soap to aid in relief efforts. We are also helping the government and other humanitarian agencies to address gaps in the delivery of aid to those affected,” Tobin added.
UNICEF is now appealing internationally for US $ 3.5 million for the children and families affected by the storm. The funds will be used to purchase additional water kits and essential medical kits to ensure safe drinking water and to prevent outbreak of diseases.