UNICEF responds to the devastation of Typhoon “Juan” (Megi) in north eastern province of Isabela, Philippines
MANILA, - Super Typhoon Juan (Megi) hit Northern Luzon on 18 October 2010 and left much of the region, notably, Isabela battered and reeling.
A day after the storm, UNICEF sent a team of specialists on health, nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and child protection to conduct rapid assessment. The team brought an initial set of shelter and medical supplies to provide children with temporary school classrooms, and health centres with essential drugs as well as school packs.
The request for the supplies came from local government officials in Isabela province, one of UNICEF’s focus areas. The east coast province was the first hit by the super-typhoon and faced winds gusting up to 260 kms per hour. Early assessment indicates that 90 per cent of schools in northern Isabela were destroyed, and many school buildings have been damaged in the rest of the province.
According to the team’s findings in the areas visited, more than 691,000 residents (154,171 families) of Isabela province were affected by the typhoon, of these 297,000 are children. More than 90,000 houses, 132 schools and 4 government hospitals were partially or totally damaged. In the three coastal towns of Divilacan, Maconacon and Aplanan, as much as 90 per cent of structures were reportedly in ruins. There are about 5,000 families (30,000 individuals of which 12,900 are children) living in these three municipalities.
From the initial assessment, UNICEF is preparing to send emergency supplies to the three most affected coastal towns:
Education: 18 tents that can serve as temporary classrooms, school packs for elementary and high school children; teachers’ packs; early learning packages consisting of educational toys, books; 4 sets of 100-book libraries.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): hygiene kits, water kits, purification tablets, family packs, and generators to power the water supply systems.
Health: feeding kits, medicines, Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies tarpaulins, and nutrition in emergencies educational materials.
Child Protection teams will continue to assess the situation to ensure child friendly spaces are in place in evacuation centers and to provide psychosocial support to children who may still be in shock from memories of the storm.
Two days after the typhoon left the area of Philippine responsibility, there are still 210,000 families in 170 evacuation centres, and this number is expected to go down in the coming days as families return to pick up their lives and repair their homes. Due to good information warning systems, and pre-emptive evacuations the death toll from the typhoon was relatively low, and currently stands at nineteen.
The Philippines is carefully monitoring another low pressure area, developing east of the country, and potentially following the same track as Megi.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
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