UNICEF setting up child-friendly spaces to protect children
NEW YORK (November 19, 2013) – Keeping the youngest survivors of Typhoon Haiyan safe and protected is a key priority while their homes and communities are being rebuilt in the aftermath of the devastating storm, said UNICEF today.
UNICEF and the Tacloban City Department of Social Welfare and Development will open the first child-friendly space on Wednesday in Tacloban City, in collaboration with Save the Children. The space is one of dozens planned for the region.
"Survival means not only that we address children's health, education and psychological well-being, but that we make sure their safety is given top priority," said UNICEF Representative in the Philippines, Tomoo Hozumi. "These spaces - the first of many we plan to establish - provide a place for children to begin the process of recovering from the loss of loved ones and the total upheaval in their lives, and help reduce the risks of trafficking, exploitation and other harm."
UNICEF is providing tents, recreation kits and specialized supplies for early childhood development, with the local government supplying day-care workers, social workers and youth volunteers.
Children ages 3-15 will be able to participate in structured activities, including play, sports, informal learning and discussion groups, in order to help promote their recovery and return a sense of normalcy. The next child-friendly space will be located at the airport, followed by the Tacloban Astrodome and a local elementary school where debris clearance is underway to prepare the sites. Parents and community members are actively contributing to the set-up and operation of these spaces.
With few televisions, radios, computers and power sources surviving the typhoon, special messages developed by UNICEF and partners are advising parents in the affected areas on how to keep their children safe in the current situation, prevent their accidental separation, and assist in children's psychological recovery.
In addition to the child-friendly spaces, UNICEF has delivered 30 tents to Tacloban to establish "baby tents" where pregnant women and nursing mothers will receive advice and guidance on breast feeding and young child nutrition.
"Keeping mothers and babies healthy is another urgent priority in the wake of an emergency such as this," said Mr. Hozumi. "Breastfeeding is the most effective way for infants to receive the nutrients they need, and breast milk also provides vital protection from disease and sickness."
"Mothers need support and encouragement to breastfeed when faced by so many stresses, and they need to be aware of the enormous risks of using powdered breast milk substitutes which in an emergency brings high risks of infection, malnutrition, illness and even death."
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:
Toll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDS
Text: RELIEF to 864233 to donate $10
Mail: 125 Maiden Lane, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038
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, [email protected]
Marci Greenberg, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2462, [email protected]