EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
A boy paddles a makeshift raft through flood waters near Laksi Temple in Bangkok, Thailand. Natural disasters, weakened infrastructure and extreme poverty have affected more than 9.5 million people throughout the region.
Children and Women in Crisis
Multiple natural hazards – earthquakes, monsoons and cyclones – affect countries in the East Asia and Pacific region each year, their impact heightened by the extreme poverty and weakened infrastructure that characterize the region. Eight countries in the region are among the top 20 high-risk countries for natural hazards, according to the 2011 World Risk Report.1 In 2011, heavy flooding caused by typhoons and heavy seasonal rains affected more than 9.5 million people across Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. The number of casualties in the region surpassed 800, with several thousand injured.2 By mid-October, 1.2 million people were affected in Cambodia, 430,000 in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 4 million in the Philippines, 2.4 million in Thailand and 3.3 million in Viet Nam.3 On average, half of those affected were children. Although varying from one country to another, the humanitarian impact of these floods was vast and multifaceted, with temporary displacement of populations and destruction of schools and health centres essential to the well-being of children.
Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012
UNICEF's East Asia and Pacific Regional Office will continue to work to strengthen its coordination of swift and effective aid in the face of the many natural disasters across the region, with an emphasis on preparedness and risk mitigation, including:
- The regional team will strengthen disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness capacity of UNICEF country offices and partners in the East Asia and Pacific region.
- Strengthened regional support will be provided to UNICEF country offices in UNICEF-led cluster areas, including WASH, nutrition, education and child protection.4 Strengthened regional support will also be provided to UNICEF country offices in emergency response and cluster areas through a cluster support platform serving two regions, thereby creating economies of scale.
- Enhanced regional support will be provided in terms of knowledge management and partnership in humanitarian action.
- Regional support will cover all 14 countries in the East Asia and Pacific region. The UNICEF regional office will also channel specific emergency preparedness and response contributions received to countries that do not have a stand-alone appeal in this document. In the case of a small- to medium-scale emergency in such countries, national authorities might not prioritize inter-agency appeals as key fundraising tools, yet they would welcome international support in certain specific sectors. This component of the Humanitarian Action for Children will provide such a vehicle for funding and technical assistance. Potential beneficiary countries include Fiji, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011
In 2011, the UNICEF Regional Emergency Team provided support to 9 of the 14 countries in the region for emergency-preparedness capacity building, including inter-agency missions to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Fiji and Thailand. Cluster coordination support was also provided through WASH, education and nutrition cluster trainings for UNICEF and partners. Support was further provided to mainstream disaster risk reduction in UNICEF country programmes in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and the Philippines.
The regional team undertook a total of 31 separate support missions totaling 256 persons/days. UNICEF also launched an Integrated Capacity Development Approach in Education in Emergencies, including a road map in Timor-Leste. The UNICEF Regional Emergency Team also ensured quality control of humanitarian plans and appeals from emergency-affected countries.
Funding Requirements for 2012
In order to carry out its 2012 planned regional emergency support actions, the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office is requesting US$4,700,000. This includes US$3,308,000 for preparedness activities in emergency-prone countries in the region not included in a separate chapter.
This funding is critical in order to continue to strengthen emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction and provide support for the UNICEF-led WASH, nutrition, education and child protection clusters. Fulfilled funding needs will enable the regional office to deliver on its full range of regional accountabilities under UNICEF’s Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action.
1 United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security, ‘World Risk Report 2011’, Alliance Development Works, Berlin, 2011. The eight countries include: Cambodia (9), Fiji (19), Papua New Guinea (12), Philippines (3), Solomon Islands (4), Timor-Leste (7), Tonga (2) and Vanuatu (1).
2 Yale/Tulane ESF-8 Planning and Response Program Special Report:
Threat of flooding – Bangkok’, 30 October 2011, p.2.
3 Food and Agriculture Organization, ‘Southeast Asia Flood Update’, FAO GIEWS, Rome, 21 October 2011, p. 3–4.
4 For cost-saving reasons, this technical cluster support capacity will be based in the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office in Bangkok, but will be covering South Asian countries as well.