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Health warning following typhoon

More than 20 people have been killed and more than a million driven from their homes following Typhoon Hagupit, which struck the Philippines over the weekend.

The typhoon, now downgraded to a tropical storm, caused landslides, heavy rain and high winds.

Unicef said that poor sanitation and clean water are the biggest threats to public health and has been providing water and hygiene kits, water pumps, generators, water storage and treatment facilities to people in affected areas such as Tacloban, Manila and Cotabato.

It also plans to give counselling to children experiencing anxiety and fear as a result of the typhoon, as well as setting up temporary schools for children who have been forced to leave their homes or whose schools have been closed by the storm.

Hagupit slammed into Eastern Samar province in the central Philippines then lost strength as it barrelled westward across a string of island provinces.

It was packing maximum sustained winds of 87 mph and gusts of 106 mph, considerably weaker than its peak power, but still a potentially deadly storm, according to forecasters.

Lotta Sylwander, Unicef Philippines Representative, said: "The government's swift evacuation response has saved many from injury and even death.

"But Hagupit is still a serious threat, and with tens of thousands of children and their mothers in urgent need of emergency aid, Unicef and partners are working around the clock to meet the many challenges.

"Thankfully, the typhoon has proven far less devastating than Haiyan to date, but there are still almost a million people - many still recovering from Haiyan - who have been driven from their homes.

"These people have made enormous progress in rebuilding their lives over the last 12 months, and they need our help to make sure these hard-won gains are not washed away by this new disaster."

Typhoon Haiyan struck the country just over a year ago, leaving more than 7,300 missing or dead.


From Belfast Telegraph