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In the Philippines, Unicef responds to families affected by Typhoon Bopha


Philippines - Unicef is providing assistance to families affected by Typhoon Bopha (local name ‘Pablo’), with a focus on ensuring clean water supply and providing temporary sanitation and non-food items for displaced families.

River of mud and logs

The strong typhoon first made landfall on 4 December, slamming into eastern Mindanao. Maximum sustained winds were at 160 km per hour, with gusts up to 195 km per hour, across a 500 km diameter. The areas that bore the initial force of the storm are those with the greatest damage and loss of life.

The worst-affected provinces were Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, which declared a state of calamity. All told, as of 7 December, 456 deaths had been confirmed, and 533 people were still missing.

In these rural, mountainous areas, residents spoke of a torrent of water, mud and logs racing through their villages with very little warning. Most cannot recall a storm like it in living memory. United Nations joint assessment teams have so far reported that in Cateel, Davao Oriental province, the majority of houses and public infrastructure have been destroyed, and affected people are waiting to receive relief such as food.

Response focuses on water

As of 4 p.m. local time on 7 December, 1,077,541 families (5,317,275 persons) had been reported affected by the typhoon.

UNICEF is particularly concerned about the provision of clean water in these areas, as initial information suggests water systems have been destroyed, damaged or contaminated.

The agency is providing an initial supply of 2,000 water kits, which include both water containers and water purification solution to ensure clean, safe water for families. Two thousand hygiene kits will provide families with soap, toothbrush/-paste, sanitary napkins and other supplies to keep families healthy and free from diarrhoeal and upper-respiratory diseases, which are dangerous in young children. The agency is also supplying equipment for setting up temporary latrines, which is becoming a high-priority need, with so many homes destroyed.

UNICEF has teams in the areas most affected and will continue to assess and respond to the needs of children and families. The agency is appealing for funds to ensure the effective response continues.


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