Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Field Blog from Tacloban - A little girl in a white dress

Toys left in the rubble in the city of Tacloban, Philippines
© UNICEF Philippines/2013/JMaitem

By Kent Page, Senior Advisor Strategic Communications, UNICEF Philippines

It's Sunday in Tacloban. Two days ago, while working with journalists on the ground, we visited one of the hardest hit barangays (neighborhoods) of the city. It's a coastal barangay where thousands of people lived in somewhat of a shanty-town, about 200 meters from the ocean's edge.

Their shanty town does not exist anymore. It bore the full force and fury of super typhoon Haiyan. There's literally nothing left as homes were wiped out and literally washed away by the typhoon, storm surge and gale force winds.

All that remains are the remnants of everyday items we all have in our homes - not in huge piles of debris as seen throughout the city, but random items strewn about haphazardly. A doll here, a tshirt there, a TV remote on the side, a small family photo album over there.

As we were wrapping up our work, I decided to take a walk-around and about 75 meters away came upon two bodies. One appeared to be a young man, and the other was a little girl in a white dress, about six years of age.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Indonesia launches #ENDviolence against children

By Michael Klaus

Edi Suharto (left), Director of Child Social Welfare at the Ministry of Social Affairs calling the national child helpline TeSA 129 to learn about the kind of issues that are usually reported by children, with the Deputy Minister for Child Protection, Waju Hartomo, UNICEF Indonesia National Ambassador Ferry Salim and UNICEF Deputy Representative Marc Lucet listening. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2013/Dionisio.

JAKARTA, 20 November 2013 – On World Children’s Day, Indonesia joined the global initiative #ENDviolence against Children.

“Let’s be clear: The launch of the campaign today is only the beginning of a long process. We have been able to form a strong alliance to raise awareness about the impact of violence on children and to strengthen prevention and response systems. Over the coming months, we will work hard to get many more partners on board,” said UNICEF Indonesia Deputy Representative Marc Lucet during the event that was organized together with the Ministries of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Social Affairs, and Communication and Information as well as the Commission on Child Protection.

So far, Indonesia – a nation of almost 240 million people with a third of them being younger than 18 years - has no national data on violence against children. The Government with support from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF is undertaking a national survey on the prevalence of physical, emotional and sexual violence against boys and girls in 25 of the 33 provinces. Results and recommendations will be published next year.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Liam Neeson says help us make violence against children disappear

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson raises his voice in support of a new UNICEF initiative to prevent violence against children. 

For more information on how you can help #ENDviolence against children, visit: http://www.unicef.org/endviolence/.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Typhoon Haiyan: Jhana and Gwendolyn's story

Jhana with her UNICEF hygiene kit in Tacloban
© UNICEF Philippines/2013/Kent Page

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Tacloban has become a makeshift home for 300 families whose homes were wiped out by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Among them is 20-year old Jhana, a proud new mother of a very special daughter, Gwendolyn.

Gwendolyn was born just one week before Haiyan struck. "The typhoon washed away our home" says Jhana , as she breast feeds Gwendolyn amongst the hundreds of others sheltered amongst the church pews. "But she is my angel and I will do everything to make her life beautiful."

Friday, 15 November 2013

Typhoon Haiyan diary: Mud and ruin in Tacloban

By Nonoy Fajardo, Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Specialist

A boy displaced by Typhoon Haiyan in the city of Tacloban, Philippines
© UNICEF Philippines/2013/JMaitem 

I have been working on emergencies for more than 15 years now, and I seriously thought I had seen it all. But flying into Tacloban on Monday as part of a UN assessment team, I was in for a shock. As the plane taxied along the bare runway, I could see mud and ruin – only mud and ruin – where once there had been trees and buildings and all the normal signs of life.

Yes there was still a tarmac runway, but that was all that was there: a runway. Everything that had once been inside the terminal buildings was now outside, and what had been outside was now inside, even including a flight of stairs. We were told to avoid parts of the ruined buildings because there were still bodies in the rubble, where airport employees had sought refuge.

Typhoon Haiyan diary: Aid is getting through

By Christopher de Bono (Regional Chief of Communication, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific)

A child displaced by Typhoon Haiyan in an evacuation centre in Tacloban
© UNICEF Philippines/2013/JMaitem

It’s day four since Typhoon Haiyan hit, and the good news is aid is getting through. And I’m proud to say that UNICEF’s water and sanitation supplies – the aid category that we are leading on – are now in Tacloban, where they will help us avoid the much-feared outbreaks of typhus and cholera. Other agencies are leading on food, shelter and medicine.

The bad news is that not enough is getting through. Despite the amazing, tireless efforts of the Philippines Government and army, and all my colleagues in the aid community, we are still not reaching everyone in dire need.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Typhoon Haiyan diary: "There is nowhere to go"

Written by Chris de Bono

A mother carries her daughter as they walk in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
© UNICEF Philippines/2013/JMaitem

I just got off the phone with Leon Dominador Fajardo, or 'Nonoy' for short, a UNICEF Emergency Specialist in Tacloban City. He is a thorough professional – an old hand who has seen disasters and devastation before, but there was a quiver in his voice. “People, families with children are walking along the ruined roads,” he said. “I don’t know where they are going – there is nowhere to go. They are walking because their homes are gone and they have nowhere to go.”

It had taken him a hour to get out of the airport because of the debris. Some other colleagues had been stuck in the airport overnight. The roads are almost impassible in the pitch black night and the risk of accidents is very real – to drivers and passengers but more importantly to people camping on the street.

#DayofTheGirl; When a Little Girl Speaks about Happiness

Ramonah singing on a MetroMini bus.

October 11th is the Day of the Girl. Time for the girls declare what they want, to tell the world about the girls’ rights and to prove that they are able to do whatever they want in a good way and care. On that day, all the girls are expecting justice and happiness. Just like Ramonah 8 years old, a street singer. At that time, during the day in the South Jakarta. I was on the way to return home. On the bus, I saw a girl singing to entertain the passengers and find money. Because I am interested in her life, I followed her out of the bus and asked her to have lunch with me. Here's a little conversation between us.