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Update: Typhoon Haiyan emergency response

The official death toll from Typhoon Haiyan has passed 4,000 with another 1,600 people missing and over 18,000 injured. An estimated 4 million people in the Philippines have been displaced from their homes, many of them in evacuation centres. Based on rapid assessment results, ChildFund is focusing our emergency response in some of the hardest-hit areas.

In Ormoc City, the entire population of about 100,000 families has been affected. About 95% of houses are severely damaged. The most pressing needs are food, safe drinking water and tarpaulins to keep rain out of structures until they can be permanently repaired. Schools are not expected to reopen for another two months. ChildFund has established Child-Centred Spaces in three evacuation centres, providing safe spaces for children to gather, play and receive trauma support, and 1,000 packs of food items have been distributed.

In Roxas City, the entire city sustained heavy damage from the typhoon, affecting more than 12,000 people, including 5,000 children. Hundreds of families have been displaced and are living in evacuation centres. ChildFund staff have noted that many people only stay at evacuation centres at night; during the day they return to their homes and try to rebuild with whatever materials they can find. Child-Centred Spaces have been set up in two areas. A second batch of food and non-food items (1,000 packs each) have been distributed.

Tacloban bore the brunt of the typhoon, with hundreds of people killed and the city decimated, but its survivors are beginning to pick up the pieces as aid pours in. There are now three functioning hospitals and, according to UN OCHA, the city’s water supply is operational. Earlier this week, a ChildFund emergency team arrived in Tacloban and conducted a rapid assessment with other aid agencies. ChildFund has since begun establishing a presence in the largest evacuation centre, a school,  where one of two Child-Centred Spaces will be set up.

Bantayan Island is home to more than 20,000 families, all of whom have been affected. Residents of coastal and islet villages are finding it difficult to return to normal life. Fishing boats were damaged and seaweed farms have been wiped out. It will take months and considerable capital outlay to rehabilitate. Some food packs have been distributed by the local government. More food and non-food items are needed, particularly hygiene kits and tarpaulins that can serve as temporary shelters. 2,000 packs of relief goods from ChildFund will be distributed this week. Classes have resumed, but only a handful of students are coming to school. It appears that most students are not yet ready for regular classes. Students and teachers need debriefing and trauma support. ChildFund has established Child-Centred Spaces to help slowly facilitate children`s transition back to the classroom. Another mobile Child-Centred Space will be established to reach children under 5 years old. [Photo credit: ChildFund]

In Palo and Tolosa, two municipalities in Leyte province, more than 1,400 families are currently living at 35 evacuation centres. Over 1,000 people in Palo are confirmed dead with another 300 still missing. Both areas are without electricity and communication is limited. Relief goods are being provided by the national government as well as aid agencies, but transporting these goods to affected families is proving to be a challenge. ChildFund is establishing Child-Centred Spaces in both areas to provide trauma support and activities for children.

UNICEF has recognised that ChildFund was the first international aid organisation to establish child protection mechanisms through our Child-Centred Spaces. We are also conducting child registration in all Child-Centred Spaces so we can identify if there are children who have been separated from their family, abandoned or orphaned.

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