Early estimates show 946,097 children need urgent assistance after Super Typhoon Rai struck the southeastern part of the Philippines on December 16. The equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane in the United States, the powerful storm battered several regions with sustained winds of 120 miles per hour near the center and gusts of up to 168 miles per hour.
Known as Typhoon Odette locally, the storm is the 15th major weather disturbance to hit the Philippines in 2021
Surging floodwaters and landsliides destroyed homes and cut off communities, leaving families struggling to survive. Immediate needs include food, safe water, medicines, clothing, cooking equipment, personal protective gear (PPE), family kits with sleeping materials, hygiene kits, temporary shelter, disaster kits and tents for health care facilities.
UNICEF staff is on the ground distributing emergency supplies, conducting assessments and leading the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, education and child protection clusters together with the Philippine government and partners. The first shipments of emergency supplies were dispatched from UNICEF's Mindanao field office in Cotabato City to Dinagat Islands, Siargao, Surigao City and Surigao del Norte to aid families in crisis, including:
- around 2,000 family hygiene and dignity kits containing essentials such as water buckets, soap, toothpaste and sanitary napkins
- 2,767 packs of water purification tablets
- 2,018 bottles of household disinfectant
- 2 collapsible bulk water storage containers
- 50 emergency latrine kits
- 25 tents for district hospitals and rural health units
According to the December 22 UNICEF Philippines situation report, an estimated 12 million children in 11 regions were affected as educational activities were interrupted or suspended in approximately 30,000 schools. The storm left 227 cities and municipalities without electricity and disrupted network service in 135 locations.
Children and families need help now
UNICEF is calling for the prioritization of children's needs in all facets of the emergency response. The pandemic has exacerbated children's health issues and children and young people are among the most vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate-related disasters.
“Our hearts are with the children and their families who were affected by the typhoon. Many children will spend the holidays without a roof over their heads, hungry, cold and in emotional distress. UNICEF is working hard to respond to their urgent needs, together with the government and our partners,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov said.
Top photo: Residents gather next to their destroyed house in Carcar, Cebu province, the Philippines on December 18, 2021, days after Super Typhoon Rai hit the city. © UNICEF/UN0569267/Kinta