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Children’s lives and wellbeing saved by preparedness and resilience-building actions in the wake of Typhoon Melor/Nona

2015-12-16

Manila, 16 December 2015 — UNICEF commends the Philippine government’s preparedness actions which minimized damage to life and property as Typhoon Melor/Nona exits the country. Improved government coordination, preemptive evacuations and responsive planning have shown that a disaster-prone country can come together to protect the lives of its citizens, especially its children.

On December 13, Sunday, Typhoon Melor/Nona intensified from a severe tropical storm into a typhoon, prompting all levels of government to begin preparations. From its highest official President Benigno Aquino III to local emergency workers, the Philippines shows that investment in long-term resilience can save lives and lessen the impact of disasters.

“We are impressed by the government taking preparedness measures seriously. The preemptive evacuation and the high level of commitment that they have shown in saving lives benefitted everyone living in the path of Typhoon Melor, especially children who need special attention and care in times of emergencies,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander said.

Since the start of the Super Typhoon Haiyan response, UNICEF’s disaster preparedness and emergency work in the Philippines serve to complement the government’s efforts to make communities and basic social services more resilient and child centered. Investment in the last two years in the areas of disaster risk reduction, health & nutrition, water, sanitation & hygiene, education, child protection and policy brought great gains and promoted a culture of preparedness among health workers, teachers, and emergency responders, among others. This is clearly demonstrated in the subsequent typhoons and most recently in Typhoon Melor.

UNICEF has been working closely with the government, academe, civil society and children in resilience building actions to protect and promote the rights of children in the long term. Some examples of UNICEF’s work in resilience building includes:

  • Working to restore a system of storage, transport, distribution and administration of vaccines
  • Investing in solar power to protect against power outages  Fostering collaboration among local government units, the academe and civil society to make responsive health emergency plans for local health workers
  • Building capacity of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (DRRMOs) to formulate risk-informed plans
  • Offering opportunities for children and youth to be involved in preparedness activities in their communities
  • Working with education officials to adopt enhanced School Improvement Plans incorporating elements promoting children’s education, health and safety

As the typhoon exits the country, UNICEF and the rest of the UN family stand ready to assist. UNICEF has prepositioned supplies for about 12,000 families and is prepared to help government agencies responsible for ensuring the rights of children.

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About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.