Support Children in the Philippines

 
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Tropical Storm Washi, known locally as Sendong, swept through northern Mindanao on the night of 16 December 2011. The heavy rains triggered massive flash floods and landslides in many municipalities and provinces within Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, resulting in substantial damage to properties, loss of livelihoods, and displacement of people. With support from generous donors UNICEF, with its partners, was able provide the following support to children and their families affected by Tropical Storm Washi;

 EDUCATION

  • Classes in 126 of the most affected areas have resumed for elementary and high school.
  • An average of 76% of targeted children have resumed schooling.
  • 24 temporary learning spaces were established and continue to benefit children.
  • Around 200 school officials have been oriented on Education in Emergencies.

 WATER AND SANITATION

  • A total of 18,900 water kits have been distributed to 18,900 affected families or approximately (94,500) individuals.
  • A total of 19,576 hygiene kits have been distributed, benefiting some 19,576 families.
  • Hygiene promotion training of trainers has been conducted for 186 student nurses.
  • Approximately 11,000 individuals have been reached through hygiene sessions in 44 camps.
  • Toilets and hand washing facilities have also been constructed and septic tanks desludged; to help alleviate the pressure on existing toilets in 15 schools

 NUTRITION

  • A total of 18,832 children aged 6-59 months have been screened for malnutrition. This represents 45% of children reached.
  • A total of 17,175 children have received micronutrient powders and at least 8,675 children have received Vitamin A capsules.

Two months ago on December 16, 2011, Tropical Storm Washi, (locally known as ‘Sendong’) flooded northern Mindanao and affected approximately 624,600 people, out of whom 283,000 remain displaced and some 1,021 are still missing. As of February 24, 2012, some 1,769 families (7,438 individuals) are still in 22 evacuation centers in Cagayan de Oro, while 18 evacuation centers containing 1,569 families (5,670) individuals are in Iligan City.  Some 34,955 families are living with host families outside the evacuation centers.

An estimated 8,559 families in Cagayan de Oro and 5,226 families in Iligan are still in dire need of housing. Although the construction of permanent homes has begun in both cities, many families will have to wait at least 6-12 months for the completion of their homes.

However, progress has been made.  A few highlights demonstrating the impact of donations to UNICEF follow: 

  • The majority of the school population has returned to classes, with elementary schools leading with a combined average attendance rate of 88%. For high school students, the rate is 74%.

  • 7,483 additional elementary students from eight schools are expected to benefit from an extension of the emergency school-feeding program. 

  • A total of 10,336 children aged 6-59 months have been screened for malnutrition.

  • A total of 10,134 children have received micronutrient powders.

  • Infant and Young Child Feeding counseling through breastfeeding tents in evacuation centers has reached more than 2,758 pregnant and lactating mothers.

  • Progress on semi-permanent toilets, in the evacuation centers and transitional sites is ongoing. 186 have been completed and 114 are ongoing, benefitting some 9,425 individuals. 

There is still much progress to be made.  However, without the generous support received from donors to UNICEF the progress made to date, benefiting thousands of children and family members in northern Mindanao, Philippines, could not have occurred. 

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Matthew Eckford

New York, New York United States

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