26 November 2013

Children in Tacloban - the city hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan - have been vaccinated against measles and polio today, in the first phase of a mass campaign by the Government of the Philippines with support from UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners.

They also received vitamin A supplements to help improve their immunity against infections.

The Typhoon hit the Philippines at 4.30am local time Friday with winds of 235 km per hour. UNICEF will join a rapid assessment within the next days as conditions allow more access to the hardest hit regions.

Typhoon Haiyan is the third major disaster just in the span of two months, following closely the armed conflict in Zamboagna in September and the Bohol earthquake in mid-October.

UNICEF estimates more than 40% of the 4.28 million currently known as affected are children under 18 years of age. UNICEF's first priorities are focused on life saving interventions - getting essential medicines, nutrition, safe water and hygiene to children and families.

Please donate and help UNICEF's work for children in emergencies

The campaign is targeting over 30,000 children at evacuation centres and in communities using mobile health teams.

This is the first phase of a campaign targeting children under five in all the typhoon-affected areas. Fifteen teams were in locations across Tacloban giving vaccines today. The first to receive them were children in 20 evacuation centres-such as San Jose Elementary School, where more than 300 families currently live in conditions that can heighten the risk of infectious diseases. 

"The children of Tacloban need all the protection they can get right now," says Angela Kearney, UNICEF Coordinator for the Emergency Response in Tacloban."Disease is a silent predator, but we know how to prevent it and we will do everything that we can."

The Typhoon hit the Philippines at 4.30am local time Friday with winds of 235 km per hour. UNICEF will join a rapid assessment within the next days as conditions allow more access to the hardest hit regions.

Typhoon Haiyan is the third major disaster just in the span of two months, following closely the armed conflict in Zamboagna in September and the Bohol earthquake in mid-October.

UNICEF estimates more than 40% of the 4.28 million currently known as affected are children under 18 years of age. UNICEF's first priorities are focused on life saving interventions - getting essential medicines, nutrition, safe water and hygiene to children and families.

Please donate and help UNICEF's work for children in emergencies

 
Four-year-old Ysabel received her measles vaccination during the UNICEF-supported campaign in Tacloban, The Philippines. © UNICEF/Philippines/2013/Diana Valcárcel
Four-year-old Ysabel received her measles vaccination during the UNICEF-supported campaign in Tacloban, The Philippines.© UNICEF/Philippines/2013/Diana Valcárcel