Natural disasters and the effects of climate change have taken a significant toll on the region. In 2012, the most significant disasters in the Pacific region occurred in Western Fiji, affected by serious floods in January and March that affected over 250,000 people (over 29% of the total population), including 15,000 internally displaced, and caused economic loss estimated at over FD$ 71 million.
During the 2011/12 Cyclone season, cyclone Jasmine passed over areas of southern Vanuatu and eventually Tonga causing localized damage and flooding. The 2012/2013 cyclone season started on a very active mode, with cyclone Bopha affecting Palau late November, followed by cyclone Evan which caused extensive damage and loss of lives in Samoa and Fiji late December. Cyclone Freda then hit Solomon end December, fortunately with limited damage.
UNICEF Pacific works with governments and humanitarian partners before, during and after disasters to ensure that quick and effective relief is provided to affected populations, particularly women and children. Emergency preparedness and response planning and management are integrated into all programme components and link with country-level National Disaster Management Offices, United Nations and regional agencies. In this way, UNICEF and partners are able to prepare for and respond to emergencies in a coordinated and integrated manner to mitigate the impact on children, women and vulnerable members of the population and to ensure rapid return to normalcy. Specific areas of focus are: water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); child mortality and maternal health; nutrition; child protection; education; and HIV and AIDS.