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Water supply back to full capacity in Typhoon-Devastated Tacloban

2013-11-17

International donors, aid agencies and Philippines government get life-saving clean water back on tap

TORONTO, November 17, 2013 - At least 200,000 people affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippine city of Tacloban and six surrounding districts are now receiving clean water for cooking and drinking, as the first water treatment plant came back to full operating capacity last night.

Since Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines just over a week ago, the water treatment plant for Leyte district was only operating at one-fifth of its normal capacity, leaving survivors of the storm vulnerable to disease and sickness.

Critical negotiations involving UNICEF, the Philippine armed forces and USAID have resulted in an initial emergency supply of fuel from the Philippines military to run the plant for four days, with USAID pledging to maintain the supply of required fuel on an ongoing basis. 

"It's critical that we provide at least 15 litres of clean drinking water per day for each individual if we are to prevent diarrhea and other water borne diseases,” said UNICEF Representative in the Philippines Tomoo Hozumi.

“What we have seen today is vital collaboration between government, donors and UN agencies that will literally save lives. Because of these efforts, hundreds of thousands of people will now have sufficient clean water to meet their basic needs for cooking, cleaning and good hygiene."

Full operation of the water treatment plant will restore access to chlorinated water to 30,000 water connections. The increase of volume from 15,000 cubic litres to now 60,000 cubic litres also means shorter queues at public taps.

In the last 48 hours, UNICEF has been trucking and airlifting water and sanitation supplies to Tacloban and other affected areas including Roxas, in an ongoing effort to restore clean water supplies, and reduce the threat of diseases caused by poor sanitation and contaminated water.

The next steps will be to repair water distribution lines and provide water in the harder to reach areas. 

Canadians can support relief efforts by donating at www.unicef.ca and calling 1-877-955-3111.

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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.