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UNICEF: Caring for the kids in ‘Yolanda’-stricken areas

/ 08:20 AM November 23, 2013

A mother and her children brave heavy rains as they head for an evacuation center amidst strong winds as Typhoon Haiyan pounded Cebu CitY. AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Keeping the youngest survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” safe and protected is a key priority while their homes and communities are being rebuilt, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has announced.

Unicef and Tacloban City’s Department of Social Welfare and Development are to open the first “child-friendly” space in the city, in collaboration with Save the Children. The space is one of dozens planned for the region.

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“Survival means not only that we address children’s health, education and psychological well-being, but also that we make sure their safety is given top priority,” Tomoo Hozumi, Unicef representative in the Philippines, said in a statement. “These spaces—the first of many we plan to establish—provide a place for children to begin the process of recovering from the loss of loved ones and the total upheaval in their lives, and help reduce the risks of trafficking, exploitation and other harms.”

Unicef is providing tents, recreation kits and specialized supplies for early childhood development, with the local government supplying day-care workers, soon to be supplemented with social workers, animators and youth volunteers.

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Children between 3 and 15 years old will be able to participate in structured activities appropriate for their ages, including play, sports, informal learning and discussion groups, to promote their recovery. The next locations will be at the airport, the Tacloban Astrodome, and a local elementary school where debris clearance is underway to prepare the sites. Parents and community members are actively contributing to the setup and operation of these spaces.

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TAGS: Leyte, Tacloban City, Unicef, United Nations Children’s Fund, Yolanda Aid, Yolanda Survivors, Yolanda victims
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