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Disaster-affected communities focusing on long-term recovery, reducing risk and building resilience one year after Typhoon Haiyan


Disaster-affected communities focusing on long-term recovery, reducing risk and building resilience one year after Typhoon Haiyan

TORONTO, November 8, 2014 – One year after Typhoon Haiyan—the worst typhoon in history—hit the Central Philippines, UNICEF reports that disaster-affected communities are showing real signs of recovery and long-term growth as a result of local, national and international efforts.

“One year ago we all tuned in and saw the footage of rising flood waters, homes being blown apart by high winds and whole buildings being washed away. We can only imagine how terrifying this must have been for children,” says David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. “But within hours Canadians, the Canadian government and the international community responded, saving countless lives with donations that allowed us to reach children and families with emergency supplies and services.”

“When I was in the Philippines in the aftermath of the storm, I was impressed by the speed and coordination of the response,” says Morley. “In the midst of absolute destruction—piles of rubble, tree trunks, corrugated tin sheets, broken children’s toys and demolished homes—there were families rebuilding their lives, schools opening up and children being reunited with relatives.”

“One thing we don’t think to do after a crisis like this is recognize what didn’t happen. Following most natural disasters there is a secondary crisis that hits within days when waterborne illnesses and major disease outbreaks start claiming lives. Despite the massive displacement of people, widespread loss of homes and destruction of water and sanitation services, the rapid on-the-ground response to health and sanitation kept major diseases at bay,” adds Morley.

Transition from emergency response to development support

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 well-being of children and reduce the risk of similar suffering, should another disaster strike. Longer-term recovery efforts are now integrated into overall development support, and focused on building resilience among communities and local services.

“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.”

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

Highlights of humanitarian assistance provided by UNICEF and its partners over the last year:

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 helped 310,017 people access sustainable sanitation. UNICEF and partners have also delivered hygiene supplies to more than 504,209 children in schools. In addition to this work, UNICEF has supported communities to change their sanitation practices and manage waste, with 56 villages (barangays) 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.


Since Haiyan, more than 624,000 pre-school and school-aged children have benefited from the distribution of learning materials and school supplies. More than 213,000 children can access education at 2,132 Temporary Learning Spaces supported by UNICEF. More than 1,700 makeshift classrooms 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.


More than 1.3 million children have been vaccinated against measles and more than 15,000 children under one year of age in the targeted areas have been fully immunized through the routine vaccination program. UNICEF’s support also emphasizes disaster-resilient approaches, particularly on restoring vaccine cold chains in 150 affected health facilities by providing resilient cold-chain equipment (cold rooms, refrigerators, generators, cold boxes, vaccine carriers and fridge thermometers), with plans to help another 250 facilities. This work was done with the Department of Health and is essential to the effective distribution and use of vaccines.

Unconditional Cash Transfers

10,000 families have received a set of six cash transfers of US$100 per month. An additional 5,801 households in Eastern Samar have received the third of their six cash transfers. Typically, more than 50 per cent of the grant is spent on food, helping to ensure children’s nutrition. Other major expenses have included education, healthcare and shelter. These programs are conducted in close cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

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 more than 68,800 caregivers of children aged 0-23 months with appropriate infant and young child feeding counseling. In addition to this, 4,300 health and nutrition service providers have been trained in Nutrition in Emergencies. Also, 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. More than 20,000 pregnant women have completed a course of iron and folic acid supplementation.

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Videos and photos are also available at:

Download high-resolution photos, captions and a story from photo exhibit Through the eyes of children: Stories of Hope and  Resilience in Tacloban

Link to high-resolution video are available at: (direct link to Typhoon Haiyan 1 yr. resources for media:

Preview new video stories through protected youtube links:

Haiyan one year after:

WASH in schools:

Survivor profile: Teacher Chyrine 
Survivor profile: Gale
Survivor profile: Gerald
Survivor profile: Michael
Survivor profile: Rhonalyn
Survivor profile: Richelle

Please visit UNICEF Philippines website, Facebook and Twitter.


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

For further information:

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