UN speeds assistance to Filipino children hit by tropical storm as death count climbs

UN speeds assistance to Filipino children hit by tropical storm as death count climbs

Ryan Leyva, 25, ponders the future with his children at an evacuation centre in the Philippines
As the rising death toll from the tropical storm that struck the Philippines over the weekend climbs to 240 people, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today announced it has rushed emergency relief supplies to the value of $143,000 to the affected children and their families.

As the rising death toll from the tropical storm that struck the Philippines over the weekend climbs to 240 people, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today announced it has rushed emergency relief supplies to the value of $143,000 to the affected children and their families.

Within 24 hours of tropical storm Ondoy – internationally known as Ketsana – dumping record rainfalls on the capital, Manila, and the surrounding area, UNICEF provided aid in the form of food and non-food items, as well as temporary shelter to local authorities for distribution to flood-stricken communities.

An equivalent of one month’s worth of rain, or more than 410 millimetres, fell in the space of nine hours on Saturday in the Manila metropolitan area, local weather services reported to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The country’s worst flooding in four decades has affected more than 1.8 million people, with 375,000 Filipinos forced from their homes into 600 evacuation centres, according to the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC).

“I visited the flooded sites of Taguig, Mandaluyong and Quezon City today, and was shocked by the level of devastation in many communities,” said Vanessa Tobin of UNICEF.

“In the next 48 hours, we will be delivering more hygiene kits, essential medicines, water purification tablets, portable toilets and family kits containing blankets and soap to aid in relief efforts,” said Ms. Tobin. “We are also helping the Government and other humanitarian agencies to address gaps in the delivery of aid to those affected.”

UNICEF voiced concern over the storm’s long-term effects on children, including health risks posed by the widespread flooding, and the agency is braced for two tropical storms forecasted to strike the same area on Thursday or Friday.