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UNICEF's work protecting typhoon-affected children of the Philippines gets critical support from Canada

2013-11-22

Toronto, November 22, 2013 - Typhoon Haiyan has left children in the Philippines in urgent need of protection. With over five million children affected by the disaster, including 1.8 million who have been displaced, UNICEF is leading international efforts to ensure children are safe and protected from violence abuse and exploitation. The Government of Canada's announcement this week of $3 million of support to UNICEF Canada includes critical funding to reach 300,000 children through the creation of safe spaces for children and the provision of psychosocial care.

"UNICEF is working with local governments and partners to identify appropriate, centralized spaces, clear them of debris and create child-friendly spaces," said David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada. "With Canada's support, children affected by the typhoon can spend the day playing, learning and receiving proper nutrition while their families are busy re-establishing homes and livelihoods.  They will have the space they need to be kids and to promote their recovery."


Across the affected region UNICEF is working with partners and the Government of the Philippines to ensure children are healthy and safe.  "Survival means not only that we address children's health, education and psychological well-being, but that we make sure their safety is given top priority," said UNICEF Representative in the Philippines, Tomoo Hozumi. "These spaces provide a place for children to begin the process of recovering from the loss of loved ones and the total upheaval in their lives, and help reduce the risks of trafficking, exploitation and other harm."

UNICEF is also working to help reunite children who have been separated from their families. Today, UNICEF will deploy Rapid FTR (Family Tracing and Reunification), a mobile phone-based tool designed to enhance the speed of the family tracing and reunification process.

Canada's support to UNICEF will also provide safe water, basic sanitation and hygiene promotion for 450,000 typhoon-affected people, emergency nutrition activities for 160,000 girls and boys, including setting up emergency infant and young child feeding centers and therapeutic feeding centers, adequate and safe learning spaces for 285,000 boys and girls; and support the Government of the Philippines in the recovery process for typhoon-affected communities.

UNICEF is providing tents, recreation kits and specialized supplies for early childhood development, with the local government departments supplying day-care workers, soon to be supplemented with social workers, animators and youth volunteers. Parents and community members are actively contributing to the set-up and operation of these spaces.

UNICEF has distributed 2,000 hygiene kits and 2,000 water kits for 10,000 people displaced in Guiuan, one of the hardest hit areas. Three water bladders were installed in Tacloban providing 25,000 liters/day of water to more than 8,000 people. UNICEF is prioritizing access to education in Western and Eastern Samar as well as in Ormoc City, Roxas city, Aklan and Capiz. From prepositioned supplies, UNICEF delivered 30 early childhood development kits for 2,000 pre-school children and 31 sports sets for 8,000 children in Eastern Samar. UNICEF has helped restore 80 per cent of piped water in Tacloban, the largest city hit by the typhoon and to date, has sent 25 plane loads of life-saving supplies to the Philippines. 

Over 30 UNICEF staff from across the world have been deployed to support the 94-member UNICEF Philippines country team’s response. UNICEF aid workers are on the ground in Tacloban, Ormoc, Aklan, Capiz and Cebu.

Canadians can support relief efforts by donating at www.unicef.ca and calling 1-877-955-3111. The Government of Canada will match individual donations (up to $100,000 per donation) until December 9, 2013.

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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 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.