UNICEF: Four Months after Typhoon Haiyan, Long Road Ahead to Full Recovery for Children

Four months after Super Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the central Philippines on November 8, 2013, there are notable signs of recovery, including the reopening of health centers, clean water flowing again through community taps and children back to learning in temporary schools.

NEW YORK (March 7, 2014) – Four months after Super Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the central Philippines on November 8, 2013, there are notable signs of recovery, including the reopening of health centers, clean water flowing again through community taps and children back to learning in temporary schools.

Yet the needs of children remain great, and the signs of destruction brought on by Haiyan persist as a reminder that much more needs to be done to restore devastated lives and communities, according to a report issued today by UNICEF.

“The Typhoon hit some of the country’s poorest areas, where before the disaster some 40 percent of children were living in poverty,” said Abdul Alim, UNICEF’s acting Representative in the Philippines. “Children were among the worst affected by the disaster, and they are at the center of our response. We are now on the long road to full recovery.” 

The report, Four Months After Typhoon Haiyan, documents UNICEF and its partners’ work in providing 930,000 people with access to safe water and delivering hygiene supplies to more than 231,000 children across schools and child-friendly spaces. Some 83,200 children were vaccinated against measles, and 55,300 received vitamin A supplements, while 97,000 children were also screened for malnutrition. 

UNICEF has also supported the reestablishment of a protective environment for affected children, reaching 17,000 with psychological support to help address the damage caused by the disaster and reduce risks of abuse and violence. 

But the report also makes clear that the road to recovery is likely to be long. It may be years before communities fully re-emerge from this disaster, and a host of immediate risks still loom large for children, ranging from disease outbreaks, to disruption and loss of access to learning, to greater exposure to violence, exploitation and abuse. Women and children are also at greater risk of sliding into malnutrition.

UNICEF and its partners are focused on ensuring that aid efforts improve the resilience of affected communities, in addition to providing urgently needed humanitarian assistance and restoring essential services. Relief efforts are directed at children most in need, and emphasis is placed on helping the 40 worst-affected areas. UNICEF works hand-in-hand with government partners, civil society organizations and communities on the ground, with mechanisms in place to give affected populations a say in the delivery of relief so help reaches those most vulnerable. 

“We are very grateful for the massive global support for those affected by the Typhoon, which has made real progress possible and helped save children’s lives,” Alim said. “So much has been achieved in four months, thanks to the indomitable spirit and hard work of the people of the Philippines, and truly remarkable and generous global support.”

“We know from experience that it takes time and sustained effort to rebuild children’s strength and help them reclaim their lives. UNICEF will be here for the long haul, supporting affected children through the whole recovery process,” he added.

UNICEF’s assistance to-date includes the following: 

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

UNICEF restored access to safe water for 930,000 people through distribution of water storage and treatment supplies. More than 76,000 people recovered access to sanitation. To protect children against water-borne diseases, especially diarrhea, UNICEF and partners delivered hygiene supplies to more than 231,000 children in schools.


UNICEF and partners provided 430,000 children with learning materials in affected areas.  Close to 153,000 children received backpacks and school supplies, and some 132,000 children benefitted from 1,320 UNICEF-supported ‘temporary learning spaces’ equipped with school-in-a-box kits, and recreational and early-childhood development materials.


Over 83,200 children under five were vaccinated against measles, and more than 82,100 received immunizations against polio. Efforts focused on most at-risk areas, including evacuation centers and communities with confirmed and suspected measles cases. UNICEF also emphasizes disaster-resilient approaches. One particular initiative focused on equipping 50 health centers with solar-powered fridges, a climate-smart move to avoid disruptions in case of power outages.

Child Protection

Some 17,000 children now benefit from 89 child-friendly spaces in Typhoon-affected regions through UNICEF and its partners. Children in these spaces have an opportunity to engage in activities—play, recreation or informal learning—that promote recovery. Teachers were trained to support children in classroom environments, and more than 350 social-work professionals and caregivers were trained to provide psychological support to children and on the prevention of violence, exploitation, abuse and trafficking.


UNICEF reached 55,300 children with Vitamin A supplementation. The organization also screened 97,000 children for malnutrition and set-up 52 mother-child friendly spaces, which served 10,799 pregnant and lactating women. These spaces offer counseling on breastfeeding and complementary feeding for women. As a preparedness measure, UNICEF also prepositioned ready-to-use therapeutic foods to treat 6,000 children with severe acute malnutrition.


Multi-media assets:  A full copy of the report, videos and photos are available at http://weshare.unicef.org/mediaresources

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 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 more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.   

For additional information, please contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org