Media centre

Latest News


Reporting on children's issues


Philippines: a year after Super Typhoon Haiyan

Disaster affected communities focusing on long-term recovery, reducing risk and building resilience twelve months on from Typhoon Haiyan

MANILA, 8 November 2014 – A year after the worst-ever typhoon – Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) – hit the Central Philippines, disaster-affected communities are showing real signs of recovery and long-term growth, as a result of local, national and international efforts. 

As of July, humanitarian agencies including UNICEF, guided by the Government of the Philippines, shifted their work from the delivery of urgently needed supplies to building sustainable systems that promote the wellbeing of children and reduce the risk of similar suffering should another disaster strike. Longer-term recovery efforts are now integrated into support for overall development, and focused on building resilience among communities and within the structures that serve them.

“We must sustain the gains made for children over the past year, and make communities resilient to future disasters,” said Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Philippines Representative. “The area is prone to natural disasters. Our efforts must continue beyond the one-year mark, so that any future natural disaster does not result in the same level of damage and devastation.”

Typhoon Haiyan had a detrimental effect on the lives and livelihoods of some 14 million people, of whom 6 million are children. Around 4 million people were displaced, including 1.7 million children.

©UNICEF Philippines/2014/Joey Reyna
UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander participates in a group handwashing activity with children in a UNICEF-supported school.

Over the last twelve months, UNICEF supported interventions have sought to create stronger, more resilient communities and social structures, through creative partnerships and innovative activities. These include:

  • Providing financial support to most vulnerable families: Through unconditional cash transfers, UNICEF has supported 15,801 of the most vulnerable families with six monthly payments of US$100 each. Typically, over 50 per cent of the grant was spent on food, helping to ensure children’s nutrition. Other major expenses have included education, healthcare and shelter.
  • Creating healthier communities: UNICEF has supported communities to change their sanitation practices and manage waste, with 56 barangays (villages) now certified as having ‘Zero Open Defecation’. UNICEF’s approach included engaging communities in the construction and maintenance of toilets, and guidance to ensure that household hygienic latrines are used properly.
  • Supporting immunization: UNICEF worked with the Department of Health to prioritize restoring and strengthening the cold chain process that is essential to the effective distribution and use of vaccines. So far UNICEF has helped re-establish the cold chain in 150 affected health facilities (help is planned for another 250 facilities), providing disaster-resilient and climate-smart equipment. As a result of these improvements, during the UNICEF-supported recent immunization campaign, some 1.3 million children under 5 years of age were vaccinated against measles.

Highlights of humanitarian assistance provided by UNICEF and its partners to date include:

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
UNICEF has supported 1.3 million people with safe access to clean water, and provided water kits, water treatment products, bladders and home storage containers. UNICEF has enabled 310,017 people gain access to sustainable sanitation. UNICEF and partners have also delivered hygiene supplies to more than 504,209 children in schools.

Since Typhoon Haiyan, more than 624,000 pre-school and school-aged children have benefited from the distribution of learning materials and supplies to schools. Over 213,000 children can access education at 2,132 Temporary Learning Spaces supported by UNICEF. Over 1,700 makeshift solutions and repairs for classrooms and day care centres are complete. Nearly 3,500 education personnel have been trained on Education in Emergencies and Disaster Risk Reduction.

©UNICEF Philippines/2014/Joey Reyna
UNICEF Philippines Education Officer Yul Olaya conducts a session on disaster preparedness in one of the schools supported by UNICEF.

More than 1.3 million children have been vaccinated against measles and more than 15,000 children under one in the targeted areas have been fully immunized through the routine vaccination programme. UNICEF’s support also emphasizes on disaster-resilient approaches, particularly on restoring the vaccine cold chain in 150 affected health facilities by providing resilient cold chain equipment (cold rooms, refrigerators, generators, cold boxes, vaccine carriers and fridge thermometers).

Unconditional Cash Transfers
10,000 families have received a set of six cash transfers of US$100 per month. A further 5,801 households in Eastern Samar have received the third of their six cash transfers. These programmes are conducted in close cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

©UNICEF Philippines/2014/Joey Reyna
A health worker vaccinates a child during the mass immunization campaign in September 2014.

Child Protection
UNICEF has enabled 40,060 children to access psychosocial support at 153 Child-Friendly Spaces. 8,779 caregivers have also accessed psychosocial support activities. UNICEF is working with the Government, communities and partners to strengthen child protection systems to identify unaccompanied and separated children and assist vulnerable children. UNICEF and partners have committed to replace 80,000 birth certificates using mobile outreach services.

UNICEF and partners have supported over 68,800 caregivers of children aged 0-23 months with appropriate infant and young child feeding counselling. 4,300 health and nutrition service providers have been trained in Nutrition in Emergencies. 517,000 children, aged 6 to 59 months, have been screened for malnutrition and 1,372 children with severe acute malnutrition have been admitted to therapeutic care, of which 446 have been discharged. Over 20,000 pregnant women have completed a course of iron and folic acid supplementation.

“Thus far our efforts and those of our partners have saved lives and made children stronger,” said Representative Sylwander. ”In a major disaster like Haiyan, it is also important to recognize what did not happen. We are very proud of the fact that – as a result of hard work and enormous support from in country and around the world - there have been no major disease outbreak, no cholera or measles, despite the devastation the typhoon caused,” she said.



 Email this article

Donate Now

unite for children