UNICEF is working to respond to the needs of those affected by three huge earthquakes, measuring 7.5, 6.0 and 6.0 on the Richter Scale, and nearly 100 aftershocks, which sent four provinces in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea into a state of emergency last week.
Initial reports and aerial assessments reveal that 65 per cent of health facilities have closed and schools have been damaged to such an extent that at least one provincial authority is considering cancelling the entire school year.
Around 274,000 people need immediate support and 55,000 children under age five are among the most at risk.
“UNICEF is working tirelessly to do whatever it takes to ensure the health and safety of children and families in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea,” said Karin Hulshof, UNICEF East Asia & Pacific Regional Director. “Ensuring those affected are safe and healthy with access to clean water, food and safe spaces is the number one priority.”
Access to the affected areas remains a huge challenge with huge landslides reported and telecommunications down in many areas. UNICEF has already supported the National Department of Health to deliver therapeutic foods to combat malnutrition, along with vaccines, to Hela Province thanks to airlifting support from the Government of New Zealand.
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 and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.