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Nov-15-2013 20:59printcomments

UNICEF Typhoon Haiyan Crisis Update No. 1

Water and food continue to be among the top priorities as the risk of malnutrition and infectious disease is given with the disruption in water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH).

Damage from hurricane in Phillippines
fieldnotes.unicefusa.org

(MANILLA) - UNICEF Typhoon Haiyan Crisis Update No. 1
Date: November 13, 2013

Situation in Numbers

4,598,000 children affected out of
11,500,000 people affected

217,800 children are displaced
544,600 people are displaced

Highlights

  • An estimated 4.6 million children have acutely felt the most devastating effects of one of the most powerful typhoons in history.
  • Water and food continue to be among the top priorities as the risk of malnutrition and infectious disease is given with the disruption in water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH).
  • With thousands of schools damaged or destroyed, more than four million children have had their education interrupted.
  • Protection concerns are widespread including the risk of children being exposed to gender-based violence, and other forms of violence, abuse and neglect, as well as family separation.
  • Given the challenges on the ground, all efforts are being made to reach the most vulnerable children and women. UNICEF is working closely with the Government of Philippines and other partners to find logistical solutions by air, land and sea to urgently reach all affected areas.
  • On November 11, UNICEF activated its Level 3 Emergency Procedures to quickly mobilize global support and has already deployed staff to four of the most affected areas.
  • UNICEF urgently requires USD $34.3 million until May 2014, in line with the Inter-agency Action Plan and in support of the government-led response.

Overall Situation & Humanitarian Needs

"State of calamity." That's the official designation from the government of the Philippines about the situation in the country today.

UNICEF is taking unprecedented measures to respond, so that urgently needed relief reaches the 4.6 million children affected by Typhoon Haiyan. For so many, this is truly a life or death moment. I want to tell you exactly what is happening on the ground today, the progress UNICEF has made so far, and the challenges we still face.

To that end, what follows is an internal situation report from UNICEF headquarters. Our field staff and emergency experts use these "SitReps" to direct their work, and I want you to have the same information our staff has about the crisis.

To all of you who have supported UNICEF's relief efforts, thank you. You are our response team, standing with our field staff on the ground. Please know that your support will save children from malnutrition, disease and death.

If you haven't donated yet, please consider donating today. The need is overwhelming, and UNICEF's resources in the Philippines are stretched. That means any gift you give now will be put to use immediately to ship more clean water, nutritious food, vaccines, sanitation supplies and medicine to the most desperate children.

With deep gratitude,

Caryl M. Stern
Caryl M. Stern
President & CEO
U.S. Fund for UNICEF

P.S. Remember, every donation is 100% tax-deductible. Donate to support UNICEF relief efforts in the Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda) made landfall over the Philippines on November 8, 2013. The typhoon made six landfalls in five provinces – Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Iloilo and Palawan – causing storm surges and flooding affecting an estimated 36 provinces in all. On November 12, the President of the Philippines declared a state of calamity. The death toll to date is reported at 2,500.

The impact of Typhoon Haiyan is of historic proportions with an estimated economic loss close to USD $150 billion dollars. Infrastructure – including homes, schools and hospitals – has been partially or fully destroyed. Tacloban City, capital of the Leyte province, is the worst affected area with most of its population of 200,000 currently without water and power. Towns and cities in the eastern part of Samar province and southern part of Leyte province remain inaccessible due to the devastation.

Approximately 11.5 million people are in need of support. An estimated 544,600 people continue to be displaced, with about 70 percent in 1,215 evacuation centers and the rest in host communities or makeshift shelters such as schools.

The situation for children is dire. Of those affected, close to 4.6 million are children under 18. Water, sanitation and hygiene services are either disrupted or destroyed. While the priority needs of the Eastern Visayas provinces are water and sanitation, provinces in Western Visayas need assistance with getting children back in school as many learning structures have been affected. Furthermore, access to affected areas and populations is proving to be increasingly difficult given the lack of fuel, commercial flights and cuts in communication.

Among those displaced are an estimated 100,000 children under the age of five and 60,000 pregnant or lactating women. Furthermore, initial reports indicate over 100 unaccompanied or separated children, with this number expected to rise significantly as access to additional areas becomes available. A serious concern requiring immediate attention and support is the possibility of children engaging in child labor or other forms of exploitation, in addition to increased exposure to neglect, abuse and violence (including gender-based violence). Also, 12,000 schools were either damaged or converted to evacuation centers, with an additional 9,648 daycare centers affected by the Typhoon, disrupting the education and care for close to 4.7 million children.

The situation is further complicated by additional threats. Insecurity is on the rise as eight people were killed on November 13 when fighting broke out amidst looting while authorities try to regain civil order. There is also a risk of deteriorating weather conditions and additional tropical storms and typhoons impacting already vulnerable areas of the Philippines. And, prior to Typhoon Haiyan, the country was facing two additional emergencies: in September, an outbreak of fighting in Zamboanga City in the Mindanao province; and in October, a 7.1 earthquake in Bohol province affecting over 3 million people and displacing populations to other regions, including those affected by the Typhoon.

UNICEF Emergency Response

In order to prioritize support to the Philippines crisis, UNICEF quickly deployed an Immediate Response Team to support program response and cluster coordination in affected areas within 48 hours. In addition, UNICEF immediately released USD $5 million from its Emergency Program Funds to support kick-starting the response.

At the onset, UNICEF mobilized supplies available in the country to benefit over 3,000 families in the affected areas, with distribution prioritized for Tacloban City. Supplies included therapeutic food for children, health kits and water and hygiene kits. An additional 10,000 families will soon be provided with water purification tablets, soap, medical kits, tarpaulins and micronutrient supplements and other supplies airlifted into the country.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): UNICEF WASH supplies were the first to arrive in Tacloban. Approximately 70 portable toilets are on the ground as part of UNICEF's planned sanitation and hygiene activities to curtail the spread of water-borne diseases. In addition, approximately 45,000 people per day will be supported with potable water in the coming days. To support those affected in Roxas City, water purification tablets, hygiene kits, a water tank (to provide potable water to 19,000 people per day) and squatting plates (to set up latrines for over 8,500 persons) are set to arrive in the coming days.

Child Protection: UNICEF and its partners are working to identify unaccompanied and separated children, in addition to developing strategies on family tracing and reunification to address the issues of separated, unaccompanied and missing children. The strategy includes the necessary tools for registration of children.

Education: To ensure children return to protective and quality learning environments and regain a sense of normalcy, UNICEF is mobilizing education support and supplies to the most affected areas. These include tents, Early Childhood Development (ECD) kits, student school packs and teachers' packs as well as library kits for delivery to the most affected areas.

Nutrition and Health: UNICEF is dispatching essential medicine to Roxas, Ormoc and Tacloban City. Diarrheal Disease Sets are being made available for 500 patients. In addition, integrated emergency health kits (IEHK) will support medical assistance to 90,000 people for one month.

Supplies: Supplies have been airlifted to Cebu and are being cleared by customs for arrival in Tacloban and Ormoc cities by November 14. More supplies from UNICEF's warehouse in Copenhagen are arriving in Manila and Cebu in the coming days, which include additional water tanks to provide safe water to 13,000 people a day, squatting plates for 30,000 people and one water purification unit. Supplies from Manila consisting of water and sanitation kits, tents and tarpaulins are on their way to Roxas City to be delivered to affected areas in the coming days.

Logistics: With no commercial air traffic possible, logistics are seriously challenged to deploy staff and supplies hampering UNICEF's ability to fully respond to the massive requirement of the affected population. UNICEF is identifying alternatives to ensure UNICEF staff and supplies reach affected areas as soon as possible. These include coordinating closely with Government and partners, airlifting supplies directly to affected areas and the use of trucks and convoys.

Inter-Agency Collaboration, Coordination, Cluster Leadership and Key Partnerships

On November 10, the Government accepted international support to respond to the emergency. The response is being led by the Government of Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council with local authorities. UNICEF is supporting the Government-led response in coordination with other UN agencies and international and national NGOs. UNICEF, in addition to its programmatic responsibilities, leads the WASH, Child Protection sub-cluster, Education and Nutrition clusters. UNICEF is also an active partner in the health cluster, which is led by WHO.

UNICEF has deployed 11 staff to participate in inter-agency rapid assessment missions with the Government in the most affected areas, including the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc (in Leyte province) and Roxas (Capiz province). In addition, a fourth team consisting of four staff members (including program sectors) will be traveling to eastern Samar on November 14 to assess the situation of children and the most vulnerable affected.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.