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Fast Facts

Cyclone Pam: UNICEF flash alert #4

Interviews are available with UNICEF staff working on the emergency response to Cyclone Pam

  • 166,000 people on 22 islands in Vanuatu are estimated to have been affected by Cyclone Pam – including 82,000 children.
  • Around 3,995 people remain in 39 evacuation centres in and around Port Vila in Vanuatu. Shelter, food and water are still critical needs. An estimated 13,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed across the country and shelter materials are needed to enable families to return home.
  • Access to safe water is considered absolutely critical, as almost all islands in Vanuatu are suffering from acute water shortages.  Rainwater harvesting tanks have been destroyed, ground water sources have been contaminated with sea water and mud, water systems that rely on electricity are down due to the lack of power and latrines have been damaged.
  • There is significant risk that infectious diseases will spread because of flooding, poor sanitary conditions and limited medical care.
  • The Government has declared a State of Emergency for Torba, Sanma, Penama, Malampa, Tafea and Shefa provinces. Aerial assessments have established that food, water and shelter are the most critical needs in the Shepherd Islands, especially in Mataso, which has no shelters or tree cover.
  • At least 80 per cent of schools in Vanuatu have been affected by Cyclone Pam.  In Efate, Torba and Penama 34 schools are currently being used as evacuation centres, preventing children from going to school.  Some schools also require repairs to ensure students’ safety. UNICEF is establishing temporary learning spaces and delivering school supplies.  In Tongoa in the Shepherd Islands, the first education supplies have arrived - including seven tents to provide temporary safe learning spaces, backpacks and schools-in-a-box (http://uni.cf/1BmZ1Jy) . These supplies will allow 570 children to resume school.
  • UNICEF is delivering vital supplies across Vanuatu - as well as to Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and Kiribati.  These supplies include water purification tablets, water containers, vaccines and health kits to ensure thousands of children are protected against disease and are able to access clean water.
  • The logistics for delivery of aid is huge and complex.  Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are made up of numerous islands - Vanuatu alone has 83 - and some can take up to six days to reach. UNICEF has set up storage facilities in Vanuatu to ensure supplies that enter the country can quickly get to the children who need them the most.


Lucy and her three children (Moses,1, Sarah, 2, Paul, 7) and her niece (Joslyn, 7) survived Cyclone Pam on Tanna island.   They tried sheltering in two houses before getting inside a shipping container held down by cement bags.
Lucy told UNICEF workers: “When we walked outside we couldn’t see anything, everything was destroyed.  We are thankful our lives were spared but now we have nothing. Now we don’t have enough water to drink – we are trying to save enough for the children.  There has been no rain since the storm and the coconuts are no longer safe to drink from.  We have dug up our cassava but have to eat it now as it is quickly going off. Our yams are not ready yet. After that we have no food. I have two children in school but everything there was destroyed; buildings, school books everything. It will be a long time before school starts again.”
Thomas Ziraguma, UNICEF’s logistics expert:
"Logistics in emergency situations is very important, especially in UNICEF's work.  The new storage facilities in Port Villa and Tanna [southern Vanuatu] will ensure we'll have a quick turnaround of supplies when they come in.  It is complicated because there are so many islands and we're having to use many different modes of transport.  This also makes it a very expensive operation.  Getting the logistics right in emergencies is very important, especially if you look at all the education kits, water and sanitation supplies and the vaccines we're sending. The supplies are flowing in now and more will be coming.”
New photos and video are available for download (please credit UNICEF): http://uni.cf/1Eh6Z8J
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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 visit: www.unicef.org

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For further information, please contact:
Rose Foley, UNICEF New York, rfoley@unicef.org +1 9173402582
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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