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UNICEF to send emergency supplies for cyclone-affected children and families in Tuvalu

2015-03-19

SUVA, 18 March 2015 – UNICEF is dispatching emergency life-saving supplies to communities in cyclone-affected Tuvalu. The archipelago nation comprised of nine islands with a population of about 11,000 people has declared a state of emergency, following tidal surges caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

Initial reports from Tuvalu suggest that Nui, and to a lesser extent other islands, have been severely hit with storm surges that have inundated houses, undermined building foundations, flooded food sources and killed livestock. Water reserves on the worst impacted islands are seriously affected as water tanks have been damaged. Many government health clinics and private shops, along with their stocks, have been damaged or destroyed.

“Assessment data shows that 42 per cent of households in the northern islands of Tuvalu were seriously affected by flooding from tidal surges,” UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Karen Allen, said. “These supplies will help to meet their immediate health needs in the coming days.”

The supplies, which will be airlifted from Fiji and will arrive in Tuvalu on 19 March, include basic health kits, 1,000 packs of water purification tablets and vitamin A capsules.

The health kits contain medicines and medical supplies for up to 10,000 people, while the water purification tablets will help ensure safe water for children and prevent diseases such as diarrhoea, intestinal worms and typhoid. Vitamin A can boost children’s immune systems and increase their resistance to disease, improving their chances for survival, growth and development.

While maintaining focus on the hardest-hit island of Vanuatu, UNICEF remains committed to providing support and assistance to affected communities throughout the region. Presently, there are around 89 UNICEF staff spread across Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and more people are on their way to help with the emergency.  

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Photos and video footage

Images and videos can be downloaded here: http://uni.cf/1Eh6Z8J

First-hand accounts can be taken from the following blog posts: http://bit.ly/1GVNzc7

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.