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Philippines: Water Supply Back to Full Capacity in Tacloban

18 November 2013

Water Supply Back to Full Capacity in Typhoon Hit Devastated Tacloban

International donors, aid agencies and Philippines government get life-saving clean water back on tap

UNICEF NZ Emergency Appeal. Donate at: www.unicef.org.nz/philippines or call 0800 800 194

At least 200,000 people affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippine city of Tacloban and six surrounding districts are now receiving clean water for cooking and drinking, as the first water treatment plant came back to full operating capacity last night.

Critical negotiations involving UNICEF, the Philippine armed forces and USAID have resulted in an initial emergency supply of fuel from the Philippines military to run the plant for four days, with USAID pledging to maintain the supply of required fuel on an ongoing basis.

Since Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines just over a week ago, the water treatment plant for Leyte district was only operating at one-fifth of its normal capacity, leaving survivors of the storm vulnerable to disease and sickness.

"It's critical that we provide at least 15 litres of clean drinking water per day for each individual if we are to prevent diarrhoea and other water borne diseases,” said UNICEF Representative in the Philippines, Tomoo Hozumi.

“What we have seen today is vital collaboration between government, donors and UN agencies that will literally save lives. Because of these efforts, hundreds of thousands of people will now have sufficient clean water to meet their basic needs for cooking, cleaning and good hygiene."

Full operation of the water treatment plant will restore access to chlorinated water to 30,000 water connections. The increase of volume from 15,000 cubic litres to now 60,000 cubic litres also means shorter queues at public taps.

In the last 48 hours, UNICEF has also been trucking and airlifting water and sanitation supplies to Tacloban and other affected areas including Roxas, in an ongoing effort to restore clean water supplies, and reduce the threat of diseases caused by poor sanitation and contaminated water.

The next steps will be to repair water distribution lines and provide water in the harder to reach areas.

Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director at UNICEF NZ, said “We have just heard that more than 12 million people are now estimated to have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan – this includes 5 million children.

“Damage to water and sanitation systems puts many of these children at serious risk of malnutrition and disease. The progress we, working with the government and partners, have made in getting water systems up and running again in Tacloban is absolutely vital.

“We are continuing to work around the clock to make progress in getting supplies in and systems operational. Protecting children from the risk of exploitation is also a big priority for us and we have staff on the ground working to care for unaccompanied children and reuniting families.

“UNICEF’s funding needs for our work in this emergency have just almost doubled to a new total of US$61m required, so donations from New Zealanders are vital to ensure we can continue this progress. New Zealanders are helping us to make our response happen and we thank all those who have contributed so far.”

New Zealanders can donate at: www.unicef.org.nz/philippines or call 0800 800 194

About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.

The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.

UNICEF is a charity funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

www.unicef.org.nz

ENDS

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