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UNICEF prepares additional $1.3 million relief supplies and readies for Typhoon Pepeng/Parma

© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-1448/Mike Alquinto
Two children and a woman huddle in a lifeboat in Manila, the capital. Beside them, a man attempts to bail water from the boat. Nearby, coast guard officials and other community members wade in knee-deep floodwater.

MANILA, 2 October 2009 — UNICEF is preparing $1 mn  worth of additional supplies to assist children and families displaced by tropical storm Ondoy and keep them healthy.

 ‘With large areas of stagnant water, overcrowded evacuation centers and the possibility of contaminated water, the conditions are in place for disease outbreaks particularly among children. We are distributing emergency health kits to DOH and NGO health personnel so they have the equipment and drugs to deal with any outbreak that might occur’ said UNICEF country representative, Vanessa Tobin.

In addition UNICEF has taken delivery of 1,000 water hygiene kits to ensure families can have safe water for drinking and cooking. These will be distributed through Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the coming days.

UNICEF, Department of Health, WHO and NGOs also urged relief organizations and individuals not to accept or distribute donations of infant formula or other milk powders. With the unsanitary conditions in communities and evacuation centers there is a fear that diarrhea could be caused by unsafe water or dirty feeding bottles. Diarrhea is extremely dangerous in young infants. The agencies confirmed that all donations of milk should be unbranded and cleared for distribution by Department of Health.

Dr Marinus Gotink, UNICEF’s chief of health said ‘Breastfeeding is the safest and best way to feed babies, and this is even more important in an emergency. We are urging any mothers who cannot breastfeed to seek support from the local health worker on advice for safe and nutritious feeding for their infant.’

© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-1448/Mike Alquinto
A family sits atop a raft, which is being propelled by a man wading through waist-high floodwater, in Pasig City in Manila, the capital.

UNICEF is also concerned that children are safe and protected at this time, especially if adults and parents are busy cleaning-up homes and neighbourhoods. They are working with the National Council for Social Development to organize registration of children in the evacuation centers, and to organize play and educational activities.

‘Children can be nervous and distressed after having to leave their homes, often in a state of panic. By encouraging them back into learning and setting up play areas, we can make sure they have some elements of normalcy in their lives, which helps them recover from the experience,’ said Tobin.
The number of families affected by storm Ondoy (international codename Ketsana) which dumped a month’s worth of rain in 12 hours, has reached 629,000 or over 3 million individuals. Over one million of those will be children.

UNICEF is coordinating all operations with NDCC, to ensure supplies those most in need. The children’s agency is preparing: family kits containing cooking pots, blankets, water buckets, sleeping mats and soap; hygiene kits containing soap, toothpaste, slippers and towels; emergency health kits with drugs and equipment and water purification supplies.

UNICEF is also prepositioning people and supplies to prepare for the coming typhoon Pepeng/Parma. The agency has staff on standby in North Luzon, and family kits ready to be distributed to those displaced. By current forecasts Manila is also set to receive heavy rains, further endangering those families whose homes were underwater only a week ago.

UNICEF is accepting cash donations through the website or its Metrobank account: UNICEF C/A 066-7-06631209-3 in response to the victims of tropical storm Ondoy. Donation hotlines are 758-1000 and 758-1442 .

Information for television broadcasters: UNICEF has new footage of supplies being loaded in the Global Supplies Warehouse in Copenhagen. For free copies of footage please contact: Campaigns Public Relations, Inc., Ferdinand Bondoy at 8847381 or 0927-8203351 or Romina Nañagas at 8847386 or 0920-9284123.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 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 has been operating in the Philippines for 60 years working for health and education of children and protection of their rights.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information please contact:
Marge Francia, UNICEF Philippines,
Tel + 632 9010173 / + 632 917.858.9447,

Angela Travis, UNICEF Philippines,
Tel + 632 901 0177 / + 632 917 867 8366,





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