UNICEF Reports Promising Signs of Recovery for Children Six Months after Typhoon Haiyan

May 7, 2014

NEW YORK (May 6, 2014) – Six months after Typhoon Haiyan tore through the central Philippines, notable signs of recovery have emerged. With UNICEF’s support, children have returned to school, and the most vulnerable have been provided with life-saving vaccinations and access to safe water.

“With 14 million people affected, 5.9 million of whom were children, and four million people losing their homes, the task of helping to re-build the lives of those who survived is daunting,” said Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative in the Philippines.

In the aftermath of the typhoon, UNICEF immediately deployed experts and resources to prevent the spread of disease and malnutrition and to help children and their families cope with their losses.

“The aftermath of a disaster such as Typhoon Haiyan can exacerbate the already devastating impact it had on children and families. This is why UNICEF worked with partners to quickly step up its efforts on the ground,” added Sylwander.  “We helped to immunize more than 80,000 children, provide a million people with access to safe water, reached 25,000 children with support to help them overcome the traumas they faced, brought children back to school within the shortest possible time and provided 470,000 children with learning materials.”

“In spite of UNICEF’s continued, intense response since Typhoon Haiyan hit six months ago, and clear progress being made, the work is far from complete,” said Sylwander. “UNICEF will continue its efforts with government and partners to help communities recover and to build more resilient structures and services to help lessen the impact on children during future disasters.”

UNICEF’s humanitarian assistance to-date includes the following:

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

UNICEF helped to restore water sources and provide access to safe water to more than a million people through distribution of water kits, water treatment products, bladders, water storage containers and repair of community water systems. 

UNICEF also helped to provide nearly 100,000 people with access to latrines. To prevent the spread of childhood illnesses, including diarrhea, UNICEF and partners delivered hygiene supplies to more than 450,000 children in schools.


UNICEF and partners reached 470,000 preschool and school-aged children with learning supplies and materials in the affected areas. Some 135,000 children benefited from 1,351 UNICEF-supported ‘temporary learning spaces’ equipped with school-in-a-box kits, and recreational and early childhood and development materials. Some 900 education service providers were trained on emergency-related subjects including disaster risk reduction and continuing education during emergencies.


More than 83,000 children under the age of five in the most at-risk areas were vaccinated against measles.  UNICEF helped to restore the cold chain, often broken during emergencies. To date, 82 solar-powered refrigerators were distributed to health centers in the affected areas, which serves as a climate-smart intervention to avoid disruptions in case of power outages. In Tacloban—the city hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan—UNICEF is supporting the desalination plant at the devastated local hospital.

Child Protection

UNICEF and partners established 128 child-friendly spaces, benefitting more than 25,000 children in typhoon-affected regions. In the spaces, children can play, learn and engage in other recreational activities in a safe environment, which promotes their psychological and social recovery. Teachers were trained to support children in classroom environments, and more than 5,000 social workers and caregivers were trained to provide psychosocial support to children, and on prevention and tracking of violence, exploitation, abuse and trafficking. 


UNICEF and its partners have screened more than 240,000 children for malnutrition across three affected regions. A total of 531 children with severe acute malnutrition were admitted to therapeutic feeding programs.  In addition, 54 mother-child friendly spaces are serving about 11,000 pregnant and lactating women every month. These spaces counsel women on breastfeeding and complementary feeding. 

Unconditional Cash Transfer

UNICEF, in partnership with Action Against Hunger, offers monthly Unconditional Cash Transfers of $100 to 10,000 of the most vulnerable households over a six month period. These include families with children with disabilities, illnesses, elderly and orphaned or malnourished children; pregnant and lactating women; and female-headed and child-headed households.  The cash transfer helps families buy food and essential non-food items, and access health care services in order to meet their most immediate needs. Some families use the money to invest in livestock and farming, initiating a more long term recovery.



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:

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