Report from the Philippines

December 12, 2012
As we’ve been posting on our FieldNotes blog, the typhoon that hit the Philippines on December 4 was truly devastating. We recently received a situation report from the UNICEF office in the Philippines and wanted to share with you some updates.
Residents are seen in the typhoon-hit town of Baganga, Davao Oriental on December 8, 2012. © UNICEF Philippines/2012/JMaitem

5.4 million people were affected by the storm, including more than 2 million children. 70,000 homes were damaged, and a staggering 300,000 people have been displaced. Sadly, the number of casualties and missing persons is rising, with 647 persons dead and 780 missing. We are glad to report that the efforts made by local organizations and the Philippine government to evacuate and prepare for the storm helped save many lives. UNICEF is now working on the ground to provide emergency relief to the children and families who are dealing with the storm’s aftermath, with a focus on providing clean water, food, shelter, and protection. With water systems damaged and homes destroyed, UNICEF is distributing water and hygiene kits and is also building latrines. Many families are now living in overcrowded shelters or out in the open, and UNICEF is helping to build temporary shelters. Up to 150,000 children are at nutritional risk, and UNICEF will distribute medical and nutrition supplies to help sick and malnourished children. Psycho-social support is also needed. Many families are still struggling to come to terms with the storm’s destruction, and children are often left unattended or can be seen begging at roadsides. Child protection workers are identifying unaccompanied children and are tracing families, and UNICEF is delivering kits to create child-friendly spaces. UNICEF is also helping to rebuild schools, and is delivering educational supplies. We are hoping that schools can reopen in January, so that children can not only continue their education, but experience some sense of normalcy. In the aftermath of this disaster, we are nevertheless glad to report that with its partners, UNICEF will be able to help rebuild the lives of these traumatized children. UNICEF is appealing for funds as it continues its emergency assistance in the Philippines. If you would like to support UNICEF’s emergency relief efforts, please visit our donation page.