As a member of the Southeast Regional Board of Directors for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, I am reaching out to you to make you aware about UNICEF’s response to the emergency in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
Although this emergency is still only hours old, what we know already is that the death toll is horrific, and the overall impacted number equally so. You probably have been seeing photos and reading in the news, and the situation is indeed dire. The relief effort will need to be massive, and major financial assistance will be needed to help. Here is what we know so far:
- It is believed the typhoon has impacted some 4 million children living in the area. As you know, children and babies are the most vulnerable after a disaster – not only do they suffer all of what adults suffer, but they are often separated from family and lack the maturity to seek help and care for themselves.
- UNICEF has been in the country since the 1940s and is well positioned to serve. We already have access, personnel, partners on the ground, as well as the long history of experience in responding to crises.
- UNICEF’s first priorities are focused on life-saving interventions – getting essential medicines, nutrition supplies, safe water and hygiene supplies to children and families. This is not the first natural disaster to strike the Philippines recently, following the earthquake in Bohol three weeks ago, so we know how vital it is to reach children quickly.
- As I write this, UNICEF’s supply division in Copenhagen is loading some 60 metric tons of emergency supplies, including health, medical and shelter equipment, on to trucks bound for the Copenhagen airport for an emergency airlift. The Supply Division is also airlifting water purification and storage equipment and sanitation supplies directly from suppliers in Europe and Asia to Manila. Additional staff are also arriving from around the world.
Thank you so much,