UNICEF appeals for US $34 million for the children of the Philippines, as Haiyan crisis deepens
"UNICEF will be part of the process of rebuilding the Philippines. We will build back better...let it be a symbol of what we can do - what the human spirit can do," says Ted Chaiban, UNICEF's Director of Emergency Programmes.
MANILA/NEW YORK/GENEVA, 12 November 2013 – UNICEF is appealing for US$34 million to aid the four million children of the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan when it ripped through the archipelago four days ago.
The appeal is a first estimate of the requirements needed to help children and their families recover, and is expected to cover 6 months.
The appeal is especially pressing because many of the regions slammed by Typhoon Haiyan are reportedly without electricity, clean water, food and medicine.
“With every day that goes by, thousands of children are becoming weaker, and more vulnerable to disease,” said Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF representative in the Philippines. “The collapse of water and sanitation systems, destructions of homes and schools all are putting children at huge risk and in need of urgent help.”
Some supplies have already been delivered, including portable toilets to Tacloban. A truck hauling hygiene supplies (including soap, detergent and personal hygiene items), education materials and recreational materials is also making its way to the area.
The enormity of needs facing children and mothers are becoming clearer every day.
Water, sanitation and hygiene services have been almost completely wiped out, with pipelines flooded and lack of electricity making water pumping and treatment impossible. Safe water is essential to protect children from diseases that, when coupled with malnutrition, can be deadly.
With many health facilities and birthing clinics destroyed, health care services will be stretched and there will be particular threats from maternal and neonatal mortality.
An estimated 100,000 children under the age of five and 60,000 pregnant or nursing mothers were displaced by Haiyan. Interruptions in maternal and child feeding routines like breastfeeding, combined with damage to water and sanitation systems have put younger children at serious risk of malnutrition, especially in high-poverty areas where 2,000 families were already struggling to survive.
An estimated 2.8 million preschool and school aged children may have been driven from their homes. In the hardest hit area of Region 8: Eastern Visayas, more than 3,000 schools and 2,400 day care centres appear to be affected.
Destruction of homes and schools during disasters, and the resulting mass displacement of communities and families, are known to leave children at risk of abuse and exploitation.
UNICEF resources were severely stretched even before the typhoon hit. UNICEF's 90 staff in the Philippines were already responding to the Bohol earthquake of 15 October that affected 3.2 million people. Before Typhoon Haiyan, UNICEF’s 2013 appeal, for just under US$30 million, was only 13 per cent funded. This additional appeal of US$34.2 million brings the agency's total funding need to US$63.5 million.
◾UNICEF Philippines is currently moving 10,000 packs of water purification tablets, 3,000 hygiene kits and two water treatment units.
◾UNICEF Copenhagen is sending over 20 generators to power water treatment plants. Over 1,200 water quality testing kits are also being sent, as well as collapsible water bladders. UNICEF is purchasing 10,000 water kits and 10,500 family water kits locally, as well as water tablets for 6.3 million litres of water.
◾UNICEF hygiene specialists will provide technical advice on appropriate alternatives to toilets, and, safe solid and liquid waste disposal, and water surveillance in order to offset the advance of disease outbreaks. UNICEF will also assist in promoting menstrual hygiene management and gender separate facilities at learning centres and spaces.
◾UNICEF is rushing 30 emergency health kits, each one for a population of 1,000 people for three months. UNICEF is also sending folic acid and antibiotics for adults and children.
◾The agency will set up therapeutic feeding centres to treat severe acute malnutrition of children. Ready to use therapeutic food (peanut paste) and 1.35 million sachets of micronutrient powder is also en route.
◾UNICEF has delivered 1,860 tarpaulins - reinforced plastic sheeting – and 72 tents which may be used for schools and safe spaces, and is seeking funding to establish safe learning spaces so that children can get back to learning and parents can be reassured that their children are safe during the day. UNICEF will help set up psychosocial recovery programmes, will include training thousands of teachers and day care workers in how to use play and art work to help children overcome the trauma they have experienced.
◾UNICEF is working with local authorities to identify and register children who may be separated from their families in displacement. UNICEF will use funding to support strengthening national, regional, and local government bodies, including local and barangay councils for the welfare of children, noting that these institutions have been weakened during the last emergencies.