UNICEF Australia concerned for needs of children affected by Cyclone Pam disaster

UNICEF has dispatched emergency life-saving supplies to communities in cyclone-affected Tuvalu. The archipelago nation of nine islands and a population of about 11,000 was declared a state of emergency following tidal surges caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

UNICEF remains committed to providing support and assistance to affected communities throughout the region. UNICEF has 89 deployed across Vanuatu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Fiji with more on their way to help with the emergency.

A rapid assessment team deployed to affected areas of Tuvalu has been hindered by a lack of power and communication but initial reports suggest storm surges in Nui, and to a lesser extent other islands, have inundated houses, undermined building foundations, flooded food sources and killed livestock. Damaged water tanks have also taken a heavy toll on water reserves on the worst impacted islands.

New supplies for these communities will be airlifted from Fiji and arrive in Tuvalu today (March 19).

Supplied health kits will enable UNICEF and its partners to meet the initial health care needs of the affected population. The UNICEF Kit contains medicines, medical supplies and basic medical equipment for up to 10,000 patient visits.

“UNICEF has been doing everything we can to help children and families cope and we will continue to do so,” UNICEF Pacific representative Karen Allen said.

UNICEF estimates the immediate need for its humanitarian activity to be estimated at $3.9 million.

CHILDREN AT RISK
· Update on numbers affected: 171,000 people, including 82,000 children. Information on affected children up from the 60,000 originally estimated by UNICEF (World Food Programme, March 18).
· WASH supplies for 2,000 families handed over to provincial government in Tanna Island by UNICEF.
· 48 cartons of health supplies arrived in Port Vila by air, and five containers ready for dispatch with new water and sanitation (WASH), health and education supplies.
· UNICEF-supported measles immunisation campaign continues in Port Vila and Efate.
· UNICEF has equipped the main hospital to treat children for severe acute malnutrition. Ready-to-use therapeutic foods are yet to arrive. No referrals for malnutrition as yet, but expected.

NUMBERS OF DISPLACED PERSONS
· 48 evacuation centres open according to the National Disaster Management Office.
· 3,370 people are in evacuation centres (NDMO) but registration confirmation needed (OCHA).
· UNICEF is supporting children and families in evacuation centres.

LOGISTICS AND SUPPLIES
· Supplies ready for flight to Tuvalu today (March 19), where up to 42 per cent of families in northern islands have damage to homes, crops and water sources and where public and private
services are all damaged.
· For the country of Solomon Islands, aerial assessment shows damage not extensive, although situation on ground is not confirmed.
· UNICEF has committed WASH other supplies in response to Solomon Islands call for assistance for people in Malaita, Temotu, Guadalcanal, Isabel and Makira provinces.

EXPECTED FUNDING NEEDS
· UNICEF estimates the immediate need for its humanitarian activity to be estimated at $3.9 million for maternal and child health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation, protection and
communication. To donate visit www.unicef.org.au/vanuatu or phone 1300 884 233.

Source: UNICEF Australia
Image Source: UNICEF Australia

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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