Devastation of Typhoon Haiyan still Haunts Children

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, after a four day visit to the Philippines, said that he was deeply impressed by the spirit of the people and the communities working with the government, United Nations and other partners to rebuild their lives following the devastation Typhoon Haiyan caused last month.

Children need support, education to overcome trauma, build resilience

NEW YORK (December 17, 2013) UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, after a four day visit to the Philippines, said that he was deeply impressed by the spirit of the people and the communities working with the government, United Nations and other partners to rebuild their lives following the devastation Typhoon Haiyan caused last month.

The massive typhoon disrupted the lives of nearly six million children and destroyed the homes of 1.4 million children and their families.

“While I had followed the reports of progress closely from UNICEF’s New York Headquarters, no statistics can adequately capture the physical and human challenges that remain,” said Lake. “I came here not only to see the progress first-hand, but also to thank our UNICEF staff who have been here from the start and will continue to support the rebuilding effort for the long term.”

UNICEF has mobilized experts from all over the world to support the relief effort, increasing the staff on the ground to more than 100 people to coordinate a plan for recovery to strengthen and reestablish services for children. This will include working with the government and partners in supporting back-to-learning efforts, strengthening the child protection system, reestablishing and rehabilitating water systems and the cold chain for delivery of safe vaccines along with providing services to children threatened by malnutrition.

The children’s agency helped restore water to the city of Tacloban eight days after the typhoon struck and aims to assist in restoring safe water to more than 60 additional communities.

The Philippine government, with support from UNICEF and other partners, re-opened schools in the affected areas on December 2. Principals and educators were already working to help children resume learning even in the absence of books and traditional classrooms. All over the islands, communities are working together to clean schools. Additionally, 193 classroom-sized tents have been erected for close to 20,000 students and more than 50,000 children are benefitting from UNICEF school supplies.

UNICEF is providing child-friendly tents for children and mother-baby tents staffed with trained volunteers to help children address the trauma they have experienced. UNICEF is also working closely with teachers and administrators to support the challenges of working with children who have suffered great loss.

The children’s agency has trained 44 police and social workers throughout the affected areas to identify children who have been separated from their families and may be in need of special care.

“None of this could have been done without the support UNICEF has received for the Philippines from around the world, especially from individuals and private sector partners through our national committees,” said Lake.

Lake met and spoke with children, teachers and parents at numerous schools, learning spaces, child-friendly tents and vaccination sites in Leyte and Eastern Samar on Saturday and Sunday.

How to help: For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution to UNICEF’s relief efforts, please contact the U.S. Fund for UNICEF:
Website: www.unicefusa.org/philippines
Toll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDS
Text: RELIEF to 864233 to donate $10*
Mail: 125 Maiden Lane, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038
Find us on Twitter: @unicefusa, #ThereAfterHaiyan; join us on Facebook: UNICEF-USA

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About UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood.

For additional information, please contact:

Andrea Sioris, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9136, asioris@unicefusa.org