Children at risk as yet another severe cyclone batters Vanuatu
Third tropical cyclone of 2023, reminder of the threat posed by climate change
Suva, 25th October 2023 –UNICEF Pacific is ready to respond and ensure the survival and protection of children in the aftermath of the severe tropical cyclone Lola, which made landfall in Vanuatu today.
This is the third cyclone to have impacted Vanuatu this year and comes just months after the devastating twin cyclones Judy and Kevin in March. For some islands, it is the fourth cyclone up to category 5 in the last three years. UNICEF Pacific is working closely with the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office and is ready to respond with immediate lifesaving actions for affected children.
UNICEF’s warehouse in Vanuatu is currently stocked with essential emergency supplies ready for immediate distribution as needed. These include tents, hygiene kits and school-in-a-box materials sufficient for 5,000 people. More supplies will be transported based on identified needs in close collaboration with government partners.
“Natural disasters increase the vulnerability of children and leave a lasting impact. We need to act fast, and to sustain efforts in the long run” says UNICEF Vanuatu Chief of Field Office Eric Durpaire. “The increased frequency of severe cyclones throughout the country directly impacts the present as well as the future of these children.”
The twin cyclones in March caused significant damage to infrastructure, including damaging 390 school buildings, which impacted the learning of over 75,000 children. While UNICEF and partners responded within 48 hours of the twin cyclones, severe tropical cyclone Lola has placed additional stress on the recovery efforts following both these cyclones and the bigger category 5 cyclone Harold three years ago.
With many more cyclones predicted in the coming months due El Nino, children continue to be disproportionately affected by the worsening climate crisis. UNICEF calls for strong investments in climate resilient services, including schools and health facilities, to scale-up existing programmes and address the catastrophe left behind by the disaster.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF East Asia & Pacific and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/eap