Typhoon Haiyan Update: UNICEF's Emergency Response

November 12, 2013

By

Michael Sandler

UNICEF has designated Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines a Level Three emergency — the highest possible category. 

UNICEF Philippines Country Representative Tomoo Hozumi says that Typhoon Haiyan, called Yolanda locally, is the country's "largest natural calamity in known history." Here's the big picture:

The Situation

• Survivors desperately need emergency aid. In the worst affected areas, there are shortages of everything — food, water, sanitation and electricity.

• 50 million people live in the nine regions hit by Typhoon Haiyan. 11.3 million people are directly affected and 4.4 million of those are children.

• 673,000 people have been displaced, and as many as 300,000 of these are children.

• The exact number of unaccompanied children, those who have lost or been separated from their family members, is unknown but expected to be high.

The Response

• UNICEF prepared for the storm and was the first humanitarian organization on the ground in Tacloban afterwards, distributing sanitation equipment that had been prepositioned before Haiyan's arrival. Sanitation is crucial. When there is no water and no toilets — the outbreak of disease is a near certainty.

• UNICEF continues to distribute prepositioned relief supplies from Mindanao, Manila and Cebu including therapeutic food, health kits and water and sanitation equipment. 10,000 family hygiene kits and 10,500 water kits are being procured locally.

• Two deliveries of supplies, airlifted from UNICEF's global supply warehouse in Copenhagen, arrived in Cebu on November 10 and 11. More airlifts will follow. UNICEF is also sending over 20 generators to power water treatment plants.

• UNICEF's 90-person staff in the Philippines were already responding to the October 15 Bohol earthquake and September's conflict in Zamboanga when the storm hit, so the emergency supplies at hand were already depleted.

• UNICEF is mobilizing to help protect unaccompanied children, who are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, by working with the government of the Philippines to set up a family tracing system

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