5 Things to Know Now About Typhoon Haiyan
Here's what you should know about the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines:
1. The number of children affected has risen to 4 millionChildren are the most vulnerable in disasters, and given the Philippines' large youth population, a significant proportion of the 9.5 million affected by the disaster are kids. Children who survived will need urgent assistance: food, shelter and essential medical attention, plus ongoing psychosocial support.
2. The destruction in some places is almost total "People, families with children are walking along the ruined roads,” says Leon Dominador Fajardo, a UNICEF Emergency Specialist on the ground in Tacloban City. “I don’t know where they are going — there is nowhere to go. They are walking because their homes are gone and they have nowhere to go.” In Leyte province, Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda), reportedly destroyed 70 to 80 percent of all structures in its path.
3. Many of the survivors have lost their homes Over 600,000 people have been displaced by Haiyan, many having lost their entire homes and family members. Approximately 435,000 are inside 1,458 evacuation centers. The Philippine Red Cross reports that at least 1,200 people have died. More recent, as yet unconfirmed reports suggest a death toll approaching 10,000.
4. In Tacloban, it takes 6 hours to travel 7 miles Many sea and airports were severely damaged. Downed trees, wreckage and debris have made many roads impassible. Round-trip travel on the 7-mile road connecting the airport to the city of Tacloban can take 6 hours. The country's geography is already a challenge to begin with: The Philippines is made up of over 7,100 islands, making emergency logistics all the more complex.
5. Clean water and sanitation are urgent priorities Along with food and shelter, clean water and sanitation are critical first priorities. With many water systems and sewage treatment facilities damaged or destroyed, the possibility of diarrhea, cholera and other disease outbreaks is very real. The first shipments of supplies being airlifted by UNICEF Supply Division include water purification tablets and hygiene supplies. In addition, UNICEF is airlifting water purification and storage equipment directly to the Philippines from suppliers in Europe and Asia.