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Typhoon Hits the Philippines

— A category 5 typhoon struck the Philippines today, forcing more than 56,000 people to evacuate. More than two dozen people have died, according to media reports.

UNICEF is closely monitoring the situation. With an on-the-ground presence in the Philippines since 1948, UNICEF stands ready to aid children and families affected by the storm.

We will share an update on FieldNotes as soon as possible. In the meantime, if you would like to make a donation to support UNICEF’s relief efforts for children in emergencies, please click here.

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A Good Meal and a Good Cause

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— When planning your festive affairs this week, consider a special and fun opportunity to make an immediate difference this holiday season. All this week, when you dine at the renowned Michael’s—both the restaurant in New York and the one in Santa Monica—you can help support UNICEF’s measles vaccination efforts. All week, at both locations, there will be a UNICEF card on every table encouraging diners to add a dollar contribution to their check.

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School Desks Can Change Children’s Lives

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— Tonight at 10:00 PM ET, Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell will make a plea to viewers: Give kids in Malawi brighter futures by purchasing them school desks. This will be the third year that Lawrence has made this overture. In three years’ time, “K.I.N.D.: Kids in Need of Desks” has resulted in more than $4 million dollars raised for desks in child friendly schools in Malawi, a country where only one in five children have access to ordinary school furniture.

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Syria’s Exiled Children Battle Winter’s Chill

At the Zaatari refugee camp, the heat of summer has given way to cold. ©UNICEF/Jordan-2012/Salah Malkawi

— At the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, Syria’s exiled children and their families are bracing themselves for the onset of winter. In Jordan’s northern and central regions, temperatures can easily drop below freezing during the winter months, and snowfall is not uncommon. Some of the displaced came prepared when they crossed Syria’s border to reach the camp, while other families came to Jordan with nothing. UNICEF is accelerating plans to winterize the camp and is scaling up assistance to Za’atari’s residents. Still, more help is needed as the temperatures continue to drop.

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World AIDS Day: A Story of Hope

Tselane and her daughter. ©UNICEF/2012/Leonie Marinovich, 2012

— This Saturday is World AIDS Day, and UNICEF and its partners have set an ambitious goal: eliminate new infections among children by 2015. This may seem like a tall order, but it can be done. Women and children will be key partners in this effort. Nearly half of all pregnant women living with HIV in the developing world still do not get the medicines they need to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus. This has to change—and fast.

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A New Threat in Syria: Winter

At the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, where thousands of Syrian refugees are sheltering, the heat of summer has given way to wind, rain and mud. Once winter fully takes hold, temperatures will drop to zero and below. ©UNICEF/Jordan-2012/Salah Malkawi

— Freezing nights in winter are common in the U.S. That’s not a surprise. It turns out winter nights are also freezing in Syria. The days are often wet or snowy there and in other parts of the Middle East, where more than one million children are affected by Syria’s fighting. Now, in addition to facing danger, these children need hats and gloves, blankets and winter clothing. They need warm places to sleep and access to clean water, health care, and cooking supplies. Respiratory infections and other winter illnesses are a particular worry, since many of these children are especially vulnerable to getting sick due to the stress they have endured.

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