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UNICEF National Ambassador Gary Valenciano visits children affected by Sendong

© UNICEF Philippines/2011/KPalasi
UNICEF National Ambassador Gary Valenciano visits children and families affected by Sendong in Iligan City, Mindanao, Philippines

US$ 4.8 M still needed to help children

Iligan City, 28 December  2011—UNICEF National Ambassador Gary Valenciano embarked on a field visit to Iligan City, to understand the situation of children affected by Tropical Storm Sendong. Visiting damaged bridges and destroyed communities, Gary highlighted the important work that needs to be done so children’s lives can go back to normal as soon as possible. He also talked to affected children and saw the deplorable conditions in evacuation centers, where children face multiple risks. Finally, Gary brought his message of hope and healing through a special concert.

In the early morning hours of December 16, Sendong brought heavy rainfall to Northern Mindanao and Central Visayas, overflowing river systems and triggering landslides. At present, over 700,000 persons are affected, half of them children. Children are now facing great risks to their health, nutrition and education. The disaster has also created the probability for long-term negative impact on children who have experienced profound stress.

UNICEF National Ambassador Gary Valenciano listens to children's stories in Iligan City. © UNICEF Philippines/2011/KPalasi

“A deluge such as this has had a dramatic impact, most especially on children. Many children have died, lost their loved ones, their homes and schools. Those who were lucky enough to survive now face risks to their health and well-being. It is our role to help these disadvantaged children to cope with such a huge loss,” Gary said.

UNICEF National Ambassador Gary Valenciano holds a child's hand while the boy recounts his story. His family is currently still missing. © UNICEF Philippines/2011/KPalasi

The UNICEF National Ambassador was able to speak with children who fled from their inundated communities, and are now living in their schools, which are being used as evacuation centers. He also witnessed UNICEF’s important work on child protection, in sessions where children are able to express their experiences to enable them to recover. Parents and community leaders are also being trained on how to protect children from further harm, and how to report possible cases of abuse, exploitation and neglect to authorities.

UNICEF provided recreation kits including instruments and sports equipment to help children affected by calamity cope and recover. ©UNICEF Philippines/2011/KPalasi

“UNICEF has now mobilized dedicated staff to respond to this emergency full time. We have been on the ground since immediately after the disaster, working with our partners to deliver essential supplies and provide services to children who are most in need. But there’s still a lot of work to be done, and UNICEF is committed to ensuring that the work is done,” Trevor Clark, UNICEF Chief of Mindanao office said.

To be able to respond to the effects of Sendong, UNICEF is calling for US$ 5.8 million out of the US$28.6 million requested by the UN. Only US$ 1 million of the funding needed to carry out these programmes has been raised. A further US$4.8 million is needed.

“We are calling on all our UNICEF supporters not to forget the children affected by Sendong. Any amount you give will go a long way to ensure that these children get back on their feet. Please go to unicef.ph to learn how you can help,” Gary said.

For donations to UNICEF Philippines go to http://www.unicef.ph or call 758-1000

 

 
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