An estimated 2.4 million people, including 912,000 children, will need humanitarian assistance due to the devastating impact of Super Typhoon Rai. Overnight, thousands of families lost their houses and livelihoods. In addition, public services have been damaged, water and sanitation systems destroyed, electrical power and communication lines interrupted. The extent of the needs is much greater when initially assessed by UN partners and the Government in December 2021. Moreover, the Typhoon comes as the country battles the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Together with its partners and the private sector, UNICEF augments the Government’s relief efforts to implement its humanitarian, and resilience-building programme while maintaining solid emergency preparedness and response capacity.
UNICEF appeals for US$39.8 million to provide humanitarian services to 492,000 people and 293,000 children. The funds will support basic services delivery and recovery, focusing on impoverished families affected by Typhoon and the COVID-19 mitigation and response.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AND NEEDS
On 16 December 2021, Super Typhoon Rai (locally called Odette) swept through the Philippines. It brought with it torrential rains, violent winds, floods, and storm surges that resulted in 409 deaths, thousands of injuries, and over half a million displaced. The Typhoon severely disrupted essential services, resulting in widespread humanitarian needs.
Sixteen million people live in severely affected areas, and 2.4 million people, including 912,000 children, require humanitarian assistance.
Over 140,000 people still live in evacuation centers. The Typhoon has taken a significant toll on the most vulnerable, especially children, who are faced with increased risks to their survival and physical and mental wellbeing.
The Typhoon disrupted access to safe water and sanitation facilities, heightening the risk of infectious disease outbreaks, including cholera. Some 2.4 million people need WASH support, as over 141 water structures and over 410 sanitation facilities have been destroyed.
Affected families are now relying on springs and hand pumps for water, many of which are contaminated by flood and sea waters. Water and sanitation facilities in all affected schools and health centres have been damaged. Hygiene promotion remains an overarching priority.
With some 220 health facilities, 40 percent of health stations being damaged across the affected regions, the health system faces enormous challenges, which is further compounded by a resurgence of COVID-19 infections. Lack of health and nutrition human resources is a concern. Maintaining access to life-saving assistance, including maternal and child health, needs prioritization. Over 133,000 children are at risk of acute severe malnutrition.
High displacement rates and heightened risks of gender-based violence create psychosocial and mental health challenges for children. Children in the displacement sites are at higher risk of violence, with girls and women particularly at risk of sexual violence. Children with disabilities are especially vulnerable.
The Typhoon comes as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent surge caused by the Omicron variant. Since the start of the pandemic, 3.5 million positive COVID-19 cases, with 202,884 active cases and 58,300 deaths have been reported.
The impact of the Typhoon on the education of children, who are already profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, is devastating. Since March 2020, schools have been closed, and their reopening in the affected areas will be further delayed unless urgent action is taken.
The Department of Education estimates that 89 percent of 29,671 schools in the affected areas have sustained damage impacting the education of 14.8 million learners.