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Typhoon Haiyan diary: Clean water for baby Gwendolyn and mom

By Kent Page, UNICEF Communication Specialist

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Tacloban has become a makeshift home for 300 families whose homes were wiped out by Super Typhoon Yolanda. Among them is 20-year old Jhana, a proud new mother of a very special daughter, Gwendolyn.

Gwendolyn was born just one week before Yolanda struck. "The typhoon washed away our home," says Jhana, as she breast feeds Gwendolyn amongst the hundreds of others sheltered amongst the church pews. "But she is my angel and I will do everything to make her life beautiful."

In the afternoon, UNICEF and ACF in partnership distributed 300 hygiene kits to the families sheltering at the church. Each hygiene kit contains essential supplies such as bath and laundry soap, sanitary napkins, toothbrushes and toothpaste, sufficient for a family of six. "We are feeling lucky today, says Jhana. "Tonight we have soap and toothpaste and will be able to wash our clothes!"

PHOTO: Jhana and her newborn baby girl Gwendolyn. Jhana received a hygiene kit from UNICEF that contians soap, toothbrush and buckets for washing and cleaning.

Jhana looks forward to the first church service she can participate in since the typhoon wreaked destruction across the Philippines. "I will pray for Gwendolyn to be happy and healthy, says Jhana.

"I have no home but i have my beautiful angel with me," she says as Gwendolyn happily continues to suckle, perhaps because she knows how lucky she and her mother have been to survive Typhoon Yolanda.

Today and yesterday, UNICEF and partners like ACF have distributed 2,500 hygiene kits and more are on the way. Air Asia is providing free airlift for 3,000 hygiene kits for UNICEF on their flights from Manila to Tacloban.

You can help families like Jhana's by donating at www.unicef.ca/haiyan. The Government of Canada will match individual donations until December 8, 2013.

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