UNICEF concerned about the plight of children affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda
MANILA, 9 November 2013—UN children’s agency UNICEF expresses its concern for children and families affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda). The world’s most powerful typhoon of the year hit the Philippines on 8 November 2013, 4.30 am on Guiuan, Samar Island with winds of 235 kilometers per hour and 275 kilometer gusts. This is the 24th tropical cyclone to enter the Philippines this 2013.
The impact of the storm was severe as it made six landfalls in four major islands in central Philippines: Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Iloilo and Palawan. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reports a total of 4.28 million people and 944,586 families affected. Substantial damage to infrastructure, flooding due to storm surges and unconfirmed deaths of about 100 people have been reported.
The UN along with UNICEF is partnering with the Government through the NDRRMC to carry out relief and response operations for the affected population.
UNICEF will conduct a rapid assessment within the next days and is also prepared with pre-identified partners and NGOs to spearhead the response. Staff are being redeployed for emergency response with additional emergency support forthcoming from other UNICEF offices.
UNICEF is deeply concerned on the disaster’s impact on children’s health and well-being. The Philippines has had more than its share of disasters this year. Haiyan is the third major disaster just in the span of two months, following closely the armed conflict in Zamboanga in September and the Bohol earthquake in mid-October.
“More than 40 per cent of the current estimates of 4 million affected by Haiyan are children under 18 years of age. UNICEF’s first priorities are focused on life-saving interventions – getting essential medicines, nutrition, safe water and hygiene to children and families. Our utmost effort will be to help ensure that the vulnerable and affected children are protected,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Tomoo Hozumi said.
The Philippine government started preparing days before the typhoon and has mobilized its manpower and resources to move people in coastal and low-lying areas to safety. Thousands of people who have lost their homes and have been displaced from the 7.2 earthquake in Bohol province in mid-October who were living in tents, were also evacuated by local officials. We commend the government for preparedness measures they have taken to ensure safety for the people through the pathways of the massive typhoon.
UNICEF’s resources are stretched from responding simultaneously to all these emergencies. We are nevertheless prepared to draw from our prepositioned supplies, which we would get to the affected areas as soon as access is available. UNICEF calls for support to enable us to respond to the needs of all children and families affected.
For more information, please contact:
Marge Francia, Media Officer
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