SUVA, 5 October 2009 – A team of six emergency personnel are currently conducting rapid assessments in Samoa to ensure that the urgent needs of children are met following the earthquake and tsunami that struck the Pacific Island nation on Tuesday, September 29.
UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Isiye Ndombi said “From experience, UNICEF knows that in an emergency, children are the most affected. It is therefore essential they have access to clean water, proper sanitation facilities, are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and are able to resume education.”
“Our key relief priorities and response are in the areas of water and sanitation, health, education and protection,” he said.
The team arrived Thursday 1 October in Apia together with initial emergency supplies of 2000 Oral Re-hydration Salts, 5000 Water Purification Tablets and 7000 sets of communication materials promoting basic health practices in emergencies. On Saturday’s flight from Fiji to Samoa, UNICEF Pacific additionally sent 14 Early Childhood Development kits and 10 Enhanced Recreational kits.
“We will be sending further supplies tomorrow which include 3500 collapsable water containers (each holding 10 litres of water) and 5000 soap.”
UNICEF is closely working with the Government of Samoa and other UN agencies to provide assistance for up to 10-15,000 people. It is estimated that at least 9,000 children are affected.
The latest update on the number of tsunami victims shows 135 deaths, 310 injured and 3,500 displaced people including up to 2,000 displaced girls and boys.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 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 girls and boys, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.