It hasn’t been easy to get back to normal. Every day, I still cry. It’s a mix of sadness, frustration, fear. But there’s a lot of work to be done. Since the typhoon struck, I haven’t stopped trying to help connect people and groups with transportation and recipients. It was all I could do knowing I couldn’t personally go there and look for survivors. It was very difficult the first days when communication lines were down. But we didn’t let that stop us. I think when you are an individual and this emergency happens, you just find a way to help and make things move.
On 12 November, a woman cradling a baby stands amid debris and other destruction caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan, in Tacloban City – the area worst affected by the disaster – on the central island of Leyte. Water, sanitation and hygiene, food, medicine, shelter, debris clearance and communications are among the priority needs. © UNICEF/NYHQ2013-1027/Maitem
The devastation of Haiyan is a global concern. For all of us Filipinos, it is very personal. I have family in Ormoc City. I was there last July to attend my grand aunt’s birthday party. I worried about them, they are so old and frail. My cousin runs a hospital there. He also lost the roof of his home. But he continued to work at the hospital. For a few days it was the only operational hospital in Ormoc. My friends raised money, bought medicines and food, sent them on a small private plane and gave them to my cousin’s hospital within days.
I also have a friend whom I thought didn’t make it after I saw the damage in Guiuan, Samar. I feared for her safety. But after a few days we heard she and her family made it and are now busy helping out the community. And I am so grateful for that. One day I hope she can tell her story. I want to give her a big hug.
There is an outpouring of support from all over the world. Our country needs that now. And I am so proud to be associated with UNICEF because they respond really swiftly and focus on the needs of children and families. One of the most crucial tasks is providing safe drinking water and sanitation. After this type of emergency, damage to water pipes and infrastructure severely compromised water supplies. UNICEF first worked on water supply. As of yesterday UNICEF, with the help of the Philippine Army and USAID, restored clean water in most of Tacloban. You can read about it here. You can see how fast and efficient your aid gets to the ones who need it most through UNICEF’s effort.
UNICEF Philippines Representative Tomoo Hozumi helps unload hygiene kits that were airlifted via a charter flight to the city of Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines, on 15 November 2013. The hygiene kits contain essential supplies such as bath and laundry soap, sanitary napkins, toothbrush, toothpaste etc. © UNICEF/PFPG2013P-0246/Aroy
UNICEF Supply Division packing 20 metric tonnes of supplies for the Philippines emergency response. Supplies include: 30 x interagency emergency health kits- basic unit (basic drugs, supplies and equipment for a population of 1000 for 3 months), collapsible water tanks, 32 x 72 m2 tents, pharmaceuticals, Oral Rehydration salts, nutrition items (scales, folic acid etc.) © UNICEF/DENM2013-00173/Thoby
As of Nov 15, UNICEF distributed hygiene kits in Tacloban. These kits included detergent and laundry soap, bath soap, water containers, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and sanitary pads. UNICEF has sent trucks with approximately US $142,000 worth of water, sanitation and hygiene supplies. These include water purification tablets, water tanks to support 45,000 people a day with drinking water, latrine slabs, and hygiene kits for another 15,000 people. UNICEF has sent similar supplies to Roxas, including water tanks, to support up to 19,000 people; water purification tablets, and squatting plates to set up latrines for 8,500 people in that city.
Tomoo Hozumi said tents, diarrhoeal disease kits, emergency hygiene kits for 90,000 patients and tarpaulins for shelter are to be delivered in Tacloban in the next days as the aid effort continues. UNICEF is also mobilizing education support and supplies to the to the most affected areas. These include tents, Early Childhood Development (ECD kits), student school packs and teachers’ packs as well as library kits for delivery to the most affected areas. Source: Unicef website.
After having seen what Typhoon Bopha/Pablo did in Davao Oriental are last year, I know this is going to be a long one. But help is already on the ground and more coming. Please keep your donations coming. UNICEF is requesting US $34.3 million as part of a US $301 million United Nations Flash Appeal for the Philippines, to provide essential humanitarian supplies and services through May 2014. Here is the video we made for my appeal as Special Advocate for Children. UNICEF website shows our call for donations, including Gary V’s as Goodwill Ambassador.
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