Unicef on kids after Odette: ‘We can’t leave them behind’ | Inquirer News

Unicef on kids after Odette: ‘We can’t leave them behind’

By: - Content Researcher Writer / @inquirerdotnet
/ 03:02 PM January 03, 2022

Unicef on kids after Odette: ‘We can’t leave them behind’

FILE PHOTO/Artwork by Ed Lustan

MANILA, Philippines—As Super Typhoon Odette (Rai) displaced millions of people in the Visayas and Mindanao, a United Nations office expressed hope children directly affected would get the help they needed, saying “we can’t leave them behind.”

Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), said on Dec. 31, “Let’s reimagine a better future for all our children as we welcome 2022.”


This, as Unicef said 846,000 children in provinces that were severely hit by the typhoon on Dec. 16 and 17–Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Palawan–needed urgent help.


READ: UN agency sees ‘dire picture’ in scale of aid needed by Odette survivors

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) said the typhoon, which made nine landfalls, was the strongest to hit Mindanao in 10 years. It was also the Philippines’ strongest in 2021.

READ: Typhoon Odette (Rai): Darker days ahead for 3.8M people living below poverty line

Dendevnorov said assessments in Surigao del Norte, Siargao Island, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Cebu and Bohol revealed that children needed safe drinking water, nutrition and psychosocial help, protection from violence and continuation of learning.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

This was the reason Unicef was working to raise at least P560 million to reach 200,000 of the most affected children with essential interventions required to save lives, protect and secure their rights.

Unicef made the appeal for funds on Dec. 24, saying as of Dec. 31 it was able to raise only more than P100 million out of what was needed.

“Without this funding, we will miss out on this critical period to respond to children’s needs,” Dendevnorov said, explaining that some provinces already had worrying rates of starvation even before the typhoon hit.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

The 2018 Fill the Nutrient Gap Report showed that 49 percent of households in Eastern Visayas and 53 percent in Caraga Region are unable to afford nutritious diets due to economic difficulty and physical inaccessibility.


Prevalence of stunting among children below five years old remains to be of high public health significance in Eastern Visayas (42 percent) and Caraga Region (36 percent). Apart from children, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly are also at high risk of malnutrition.

Worst effects

On Dec. 16, as Odette was expected to make landfall over Surigao del Norte or Eastern Visayas, Unicef said 16 million Filipinos will likely experience the typhoon’s rage–700,000 of whom were children.

Since then, Unicef has expressed concern, saying that children are the most exposed to peril when crises happen. It said as the threats of COVID-19 still looms, the typhoon places children at additional risks that could upend their lives.

UN-OCHA said on Dec. 30 that from Dec. 23 to 29, there were 6.3 million people who were hit by the typhoon in 10 regions–564,000 were displaced while more than 400 were killed. It likewise destroyed 712,000 houses and 80,000 hectares of farmlands.

READ: Super Typhoon Odette (Rai): Quick facts

Graphic by Ed Lustan

While these statistics were already concerning, Unicef said there’s a children’s crisis that “we need to end now”.

Unicef said assessment teams saw children with diarrhea in homes and hospitals while their worried parents were barely recovering from the shock of losing their homes and livelihoods.

“Children’s schools were partially or completely destroyed and their learning modules have been inundated,” it said in a report.

In Caraga Region, specifically in Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte, UN-OCHA said 135,451 learners in 835 schools were affected by the typhoon.

Unicef also said staying in crowded rooms in evacuation centers with adults exposes children to “abuse and exploitation.”

The Global Protection Cluster of the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Prevention and Response said displacement intensifies GBV-related risk in every crisis context so it was concerned that the regions most affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013 had higher rates of physical and sexual violence.

It was explained by Unicef that children needed help since local government officials are overwhelmed and child rights’ workers—like teachers and social workers—are themselves hit by the typhoon.

Children’s needs

As UN-OCHA said the “needs are tremendous,” it prepared a plan based on the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities. However, the plan will still be revised in a few weeks to reflect the needs based on additional assessments.

Here’s a breakdown of the needs of children based on the UN-OCHA document:

  • Education: P66 million

Children in need: 217,000

  • 50,239 children aged 3-5 years old
  • 97,686 children aged 6-11 years old
  • 69,776 children aged 12-15 years old

Beneficiaries in Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands, and Southern Leyte: 87,000

  • 20,074 children aged 3-5 years old
  • 39,074 children aged 6-11 years old
  • 27,910 children aged 12-15 years old
  • Nutrition: P156 million

People in need: 2.6 million

Beneficiaries in Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Agusan del Norte, Palawan, Cagayan de Oro: 344,994 children and women

  • 279,994 children aged 0-5 years old
  • 65,000 pregnant and lactating women
  • Protection, Child Protection and Gender-Based Violence: P443.7 million (including P306 million for GBV and P33.15 million for child protection)

People in need: 662,000

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Beneficiaries in Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Agusan del Norte, Southern Leyte, and Leyte:

  • 194,180 displaced individuals
  • 100,000 individuals at risk of GBV
  • 98,700 children

RELATED STORY: PH’s typhoon alley and the trail of destruction it brings

TAGS: Children, INQFocus, response, Typhoon, UN-OCHA, UNICEF

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