NEW YORK, NY – Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful typhoon of the year, hit the Philippines at 4:30 am local time today. The impact of the storm was severe as it made landfall on several island groups within central Philippines.
UNICEF is closely monitoring the situation and is prepared with prepositioned supplies to quickly respond to children’s needs for nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and protection. The organization has a team ready to be deployed to assess the needs of affected children, together with partners on the ground.
Substantial damage to infrastructure, flooding due to storm surges and at least three deaths are reported. As with any emergency, children are the most vulnerable.
UNICEF began providing assistance to the Philippines in 1948 and implements programs in education, health and nutrition, HIV and AIDS prevention, and child protection.
The country has long been affected by typhoons and other natural disasters, and over the years, UNICEF emergency teams have mounted large-scale responses. Last December, Typhoon Bopha killed more than 1,000 people, and left hundreds of thousands of people in evacuation centers and living in the ruins of their homes or with host communities.
UNICEF is currently responding to several emergencies in the Philippines, including the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Bohol last month. It is calling for support to enable it to respond to the needs of all affected children.
The Philippines is located along a typhoon belt and what’s known as the Ring of Fire, a large region in the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.