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Press release

At least 54,000 children affected by cyclone Pam in Vanuatu

NEW YORK, 14 March 2015 - It is estimated that at least half the population of Vanuatu has been affected by cyclone Pam. Of these, at least 54,000 are children.

Many homes in Vanuatu have likely been destroyed as they are built with natural and local materials such as thatched and corrugated roofs that are vulnerable to strong winds and floods.

Schools, churches and community halls are being used as emergency shelters. Many of these buildings are likely to have suffered structural damage. Lifeline facilities like hospitals, electrical utilities, water supply and telephone systems are most likely severely damaged.

Power and water supply has been affected across Vanuatu, including in the capital city Port Vila.

Other Pacific Island countries have been severely impact as well, including the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati.

UNICEF is on the ground in the affected countries, providing immediate assistance. Most urgent needs include the provision of water containers, purification tablets, soap and temporary sanitation facilities.

In Vanuatu, health centres have likely sustained severe damage and will need rebuilding and restocking with medical and nutrition supplies. Plans are under way to support the Government to do a major measles immunization campaign, given recent cases.

Schools are being used as evacuation centres, and UNICEF will be supporting children's education, including providing school in a box kits. Child friendly spaces will be set up in evacuation centres to provide children with psychosocial assistance.

UNICEF's immediate needs to assist the affected countries is at least US $2 million, initially covering support to water, sanitation, hygiene, health, education, nutrition and protection services, and including support for the high costs of logistics across this vast geographic area. 


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UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being 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 visit: www.unicef.org

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For further information, please contact:
Rose Foley, UNICEF New York, rfoley@unicef.org
Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, nmekki@unicef.org, +1917 209 1804
Alice Clements, UNICEF Vanuatu, aclements@unicef.org, Tel: +678 546 7132 (Please be mindful of time difference) 




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