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UNICEF Pacific to provide support to children and families of Samoa and Tonga

SUVA, 1 October 2009 - UNICEF Pacific office based in Suva, Fiji, has mobilised its emergency response team following the Pacific tsunami and will provide immediate humanitarian assistance to Samoa and Tonga. UNICEF Pacific is also offering its assistance to American Samoa.

UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Isiye Ndombi has expressed shock over the scale of destruction of the tsunami and the resulting grief to the people of Samoa and Tonga. He assures that UNICEF Pacific will provide immediate support.

“Our hearts and minds are with the children and families of Samoa and Tonga right now. This is a tragedy of unbelievable proportions and UNICEF Pacific is ready to work closely and coordinated with our Samoan and Tongan partners and international agencies to provide immediate relief and support to the people of Samoa and Tonga," said Dr. Ndombi.

"From past experiences we know that it is especially important that we work to immediately immunise children against measles, ensure the protection of women and children who are especially vulnerable now, and establish good sanitation facilities to prevent outbreak of diseases. UNICEF is especially well prepared to provide support in these areas now. We take note that the United States of America has already declared American Samoa a disaster area and taken charge of relief efforts there. UNICEF Pacific is naturally offering to extend its support to American Samoa, and will do so if requested,” Dr. Ndombi concluded.

UNICEF Pacific will undertake a rapid needs assessment focusing on women and children and will provide supplies and assistance to the children and their families in Samoa and Tonga with immediate effect. This will be done under the coordination of the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator’s Office and the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 

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 boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:
Donna Hoerder, Communication Specialist – Tel +679 3300439, E-mail suva@unicef.org 
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF NY, Tel + 1 212 326 7426; E-mail: pmccormick@unicef.org




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