On November 8, Super Typhoon Haiyan, the most forceful and destructive typhoon ever recorded, struck the Philippines, affecting more than 14 million people including nearly six million children. Even in the Philippines, a country visited by typhoons and other natural disasters every year, the level of devastation was unexpected. The devastation occurred in some of poorest regions and communities in the Philippines, where, prior to the Typhoon, more than 40% of children lived in poverty. This poverty was exacerbated as many displaced families lost their homes and their livelihoods.
For days following the storm, roads, airports and bridges, the very means by which supplies could be transported to affected children and their families, were blocked or destroyed.
As soon as access was possible, UNICEF was on the ground to help provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) equipment, education materials and health, nutrition and child protection support.
Below are some of the critical steps taken by UNICEF in the aftermath of the disaster:
• Within a week, UNICEF, in collaboration with its partners and the government, helped restore a major water treatment plant, providing water for some 200,000 people in Tacloban. Within a month, UNICEF enabled 438,500 people to access safe water, provided water treatment supplies, toilet slabs and portable toilets for 58,600 people, and hygiene kits for 137,000 people.
• By December 11th, over 35,000 children under 5 were vaccinated against polio and measles and 24,000 children received vitamin A supplementation.
• 193 classroom-sized tents were erected for close to 20,000 students, and over 50,000 children benefitted from UNICEF school supplies.
2.94 million individuals were at risk of malnutrition in affected areas. In one month, more than 38,000 children under 5 were screened, and UNICEF supported partners to treat an estimated 6,000 children with Severe Acute Malnutrition with supplies, including ready-to-use therapeutic food. Iron folic acid was supplied for pregnant and lactating mothers.
Champions for Children dedicated November and December 2013 Change for Good collections ($176, 554.57) to help UNICEF provide long term recovery and rehabilitation in typhoon-affected areas in the Philippines.