Hundreds are dead, and hundreds of thousands of families have been left homeless in some of the worst floods and storms Southeast Asia has experienced in decades. After back to back tropical storms and typhoons across the region in the past few weeks, Super Typhoon Goni made landfall in the Philippines over the weekend bringing catastrophic winds and intense rains.
It is estimated that in the Philippines alone some 68 million people are affected, including 2.3 million who are believed to be especially vulnerable, a third of whom who are children.
Floods and landslides in the central provinces of Vietnam have now claimed more than 100 lives since the heavy rains started a few weeks ago.
Our UNICEF emergency teams, already on the ground, are racing to reach the most vulnerable as the extreme weather continues across the region. But they can’t do it alone.
Families pushed further into poverty
The endless deluge of recent weeks has not only taken lives and destroyed homes it has also obliterated livelihoods. Freshly planted crops, as well as hundreds of thousands of livestock, have been washed away and shops and businesses submerged in the rising water. This comes on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has economically devasted the region, with the Philippines one of the worst hit countries in the region. Already vulnerable families are being pushed further into poverty, placing children at risk of malnutrition.
Health care in the balance
Communities have been cut off from health care due to the rising waters and the destruction of local health centres and hospitals. UNICEF and the national disaster management authorities estimate that some 7,500 pregnant women and 21,000 children under five are without access to health care in Vietnam alone.
Also in Vietnam, more than half a million people are currently unable to access clean water for drinking and hygiene purposes placing them at risk of waterborne illnesses. There are already reports of diarrhoea. Across the region the risk of COVID-19 infection in evacuation centres in heightened. In the Phillippines following Thyphoon Goni, 1,000 COVID-19 positive patients needed to be moved to safer ground.
Schools and education materials have been heavily damaged, and thousands of schools have closed leaving some 1.2 million children in Vietnam and hundreds of thousands more across the region. This is particularly difficult given the COVID-19 disrupted year so far.
Nguyen holds her 2-year-old son near the ruins of her house which is destroyed by typhoons in Vietnam. © UNICEF/UN0354204/Pham/AFP-Services
Women and children at risk
In Vietnam, tens of thousands of women and children have been evacuated and are temporarily sheltered in government offices on higher ground, while men stay back at home to protect what remains of their households. This not only leaves the women and children vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, but heavily impacts their mental health, with both women and children facing increased stress and anxiety.
Please help provide life-saving assistance to affected children and their families.
UNICEF emergency teams are already on the ground in Vietnam and the Philippines. Together with the governments of the affected countries we are working to:
- Ensure access to essential maternal, newborn and child healthcare services through the provision of emergency medical and midwifery kits and the deployment of medical teams
- Provide clean drinking water to vulnerable households and reinforce essential sanitation and hygiene services
- Keep children learning with “school-in-a-box” kits for affected schools as well as distributing devices to enable distance learning, especially for ethnic minority children and children with disabilities
- Ensure children and their parents are provided with immediate psycho-social support as well as safe and accessible channels to report sexual exploitation and abuse and address cases of violence