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UNICEF prepares for Super Typhoon Pablo in Philippines, warns of potential dangers for children

© UNICEF Philippines/2012/JMaitem
A boy walks beside damaged homes in the Southern Philippine township of New Bataan in Compostela Valley province in Mindanao. Super Typhoon Bhopa (local name Pablo), the strongest to hit the country this year, displaced thousands...

5 December 2012, Manila - UNICEF, as part of the joint UN agencies humanitarian country team, is closely monitoring the situation in the country as the super typhoon Pablo (International name Bopha) makes its way through the southern part of the country. The typhoon made landfall on Tuesday 4th December and is expected to exit around Thursday 6th December. The UN agency for children is concerned about the situation of children in these affected areas. Typhoon paths can be unpredictable once they move over land.

UNICEF has staff on standby in Manila and Cotabato City ready to be deployed in rapid assessments as soon as it is safe to travel. UNICEF, with the Philippine government, leads the joint response in the areas of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Nutrition and Child Protection. In all these areas, as well as health and education, the agency has prepositioned supplies for quick distribution to affected families and children.

The WASH cluster (group of concerned agencies and NGOs), led by the Department of Health and including UNICEF, Oxfam, ACF and other agencies, has stockpiles of water bladders – to provide clean water, in the absence of water systems – water purification supplies – to purify water for drinking – and hygiene kits, containing soap, water containers, toothpaste/brush and slippers, for around 20,000 families.

For Nutrition, the cluster has supplies of micronutrient powders, to supplement the food intake of young children, ready-to-use therapeutic foods for malnourished children, and weighing and measuring equipment to assess the nutritional status of young children.

Local residents in typhoon hit Southern Philippine township of New Bataan in Compostela Valley province in Mindanao find their homes destroyed. 
©UNICEF Philippines/2012/JMaitem

Child protection, whilst not seen as an immediate life-saving response, is important to address children’s psycho-social welfare. Evacuation and severe weather conditions can be very distressing for children and they can become separated from parents and family members. There can be additional threats to their safety, from both emergency evacuations and having to gather in crowded evacuation centres. The Department of Social Welfare leads the child protection cluster along with UNICEF, and other agencies such as Save the Children and Plan International. UNICEF has supplies included handbooks for setting up child registration systems, and play activities and equipment for psycho-social recovery activities for children.

UNICEF is working closely with government and other UN agencies, and will decide on any appropriate response after carrying out detailed assessment in the affected areas.

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