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UNICEF mobilizes to reach children and families affected by Typhoon Hagupit

2014-12-08

MANILA/NEW YORK, 8 December 2014 – As Typhoon Hagupit wreaks havoc through the Philippines, UNICEF is acting quickly to support the Filipino government’s response to the emergency, providing lifesaving supplies and services for children and women in the areas hardest hit by cyclone-force winds and heavy rains.

Latest Government estimates indicate more than a million people are affected, including over 400,000 children. Many of them are in evacuation sites.

Typhoon Hagupit is still on the move, bringing destructive winds, heavy rain, water surges and landslides. Its full impact is still not known.

“The government’s swift evacuation response has saved many from injury and even death,” said Ms. Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Philippines Representative.  “But Hagupit is still a serious threat, and with tens of thousands of children and their mothers in urgent need of emergency aid, UNICEF and partners are working around the clock to meet the many challenges.” 

UNICEF’s Tacloban office, established after Super Typhoon Haiyan, activated its emergency response plan last week. Its 54 staff are on standby to deploy to affected areas to undertake expert assessments, to work with the government and partners to assist evacuees. They are currently loading supply trucks to pre-position essential supplies and equipment from local warehouses to affected areas in Samar and beyond.

With poor sanitation and unclean water a direct threat to children’s health, restoration of existing water sources will be a top priority in the critical days after the storm. UNICEF has supplies prepositioned in warehouses in Tacloban, Manila and Cotabato, including water kits, hygiene kits, water pumps, generators, water storage and treatment facilities.

Other emergency supplies include medical supplies, nutritional therapeutic food items to combat malnutrition, oral rehydration salts and tarpaulins power for at least 12,000 families.   

Typhoon Hagupit made landfall only 13 months after Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated parts of the Eastern Visayas.  UNICEF’s efforts will focus on helping children overcome the effects of anxiety and extreme fear, including through the provision of psychosocial assistance.

School tents as well as education materials will also be provided so that children forced to evacuate, or whose schools have been closed or damaged by the storm, can continue learning.

“Thankfully, the typhoon has proven far less devastating than Haiyan to date, but there are still almost a million people – many still recovering from Haiyan – who have been driven from their homes,” said Ms.Sylwander. “These people have made enormous progress in rebuilding their lives over the last 12 months, and they need our help to make sure these hard-won gains are not washed away by this new disaster.”

Photo and b-roll from Tacloban is available at:  http://uni.cf/1G3whKu

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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.