UNICEF assists children affected by Philippine Volcano
MANILA, 21 December 2009 — UNICEF has provided about Php 4,715,630 million in supplies to address the urgent needs of children and their families affected by the impending eruption of the Mayon Volcano, by providing water kits to ensure clean and safe water, as well as essential medical supplies. UNICEF responded within 48 hours of the official request made by Governor Joey Sarte Salceda.
UNICEF expressed great concern over the growing number of children and families affected by the heightened activity of Mt. Mayon, which now is hoisted to alert level 4. Data from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) revealed over 40,000 people have been relocated to around 24 evacuation centers.
“Our hearts go out to the thousands of children and families who have been affected by the eruption and are now spending their Christmas in an evacuation centre. We are relieved that there so far have been no casualties as a result of the Government preparedness strategy. ” Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF Representative, said.
Twenty of the 24 evacuation centers are schools, while another 53 schools are located within the 16 villages that are in the danger zone.
“UNICEF is concerned for the more than 24,000 children who have so far had their classes disrupted. We are therefore supporting the government by providing school tents and school packs to ensure that classes resume after the Christmas break, despite the emergency situation,” Ma. Lourdes de Vera-Mateo, Chief of UNICEF Education, said.
Included in the water kits are collapsible water containers, buckets, soap and water purification tablets and communication materials on hygiene. The medical kits include essential medicines and supplies such as oral rehydration salts, syringes, tetracycline eye ointment, paracetamol, amoxicillin, zinc, iron, among others.
UNICEF will continue to monitor the situation in constant coordination with the government and other humanitarian agencies.