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Philippines: UNICEF makes urgent appeal for typhoon devastation

GENEVA/MANILA, 3 December 2004 - UNICEF is making an urgent appeal for US$800,000 to meet the needs of children and families suffering from the devastation inflicted by a recent succession of tropical depressions and typhoons.

Typhoon ,Violeta tropical depression WInnie, and super-typhoon Yoyong lashed at the islands within a few days of each other. The UNICEF-assisted areas of Aurora, Camarines Norte, Mt. Province, and Isabela provinces and Manila, Pasay and Quezon cities were affected, among others.

Unfortunately, most transportation and communication facilities are down, and exact data on the situation of children in these areas are not yet available.

The storms had triggered flash floods and landslides that caused massive injuries, deaths, and displacements. Roads were blocked and, with Yoyong's 180-220 kph winds, rescue efforts by air or water were impossible. Relief workers, soldiers, and civilian volunteers had to hike six hours to bring food and water to isolated families. Some evacuees had to walk as much as 14 hours to get to safety. About 1,000 people are either missing or dead.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council estimates that over 68,000 families nationwide have been affected by the chain of weather

In Aurora, 8,135 families (23 per cent of the total) were affected. Of these, at least 2,300 families had been rendered homeless. In Camarines Norte, over 4,500 families are in evacuation centers; another 100 families are homeless but could no longer be accommodated.

Water, food and medicines are the most urgent needs of survivors, many of whom are in crowded evacuation centers that include schools and small hotels. Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit has expressed fear of disease outbreaks. Most affected areas have no water supply and electricity. Houses, day care centers, and health and nutrition posts have also been destroyed.

Initially, UNICEF is providing $100,000 worth of emergency supplies to the provinces of Aurora and Camarines Norte. The supplies consist of household packages, noodles, sardines, and essential drugs and vitamins. Household packages include water containers, cooking supplies, plates, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, and clothes.

UNICEF will provide additional emergency assistance to other affected programme areas in the next few days.

For more information, contact:

Damien Personnaz, UNICEF Geneva, (41) 022 909 5716
Dale Rutstein, Communication Chief, (632)9010177, +639212195633




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