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UNICEF Supports Government and Families in Samoa and Fiji

SUVA, 20 December 2012 – In an effort to keep children safe and protected in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Evan, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has offered initial support to Government and families in Samoa and Fiji through the provision of 63,000 sachets of oral rehydration salts (ORS) which will be given to the Ministry of Health in Fiji and 5,000 doses of tetanus toxoid vaccine for Samoa.

UNICEF also collaborated with Fiji’s Ministry of Health and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to arrange for the nationwide broadcast of radio spots promoting good protection, nutrition and hygiene practices for families during disasters. 

Messages include keeping children away from floodwaters and damaged buildings, boiling all drinking water, continuing to exclusively breastfeed infants under six months old and keeping families fed best as possible but not eating spoiled food.

According to UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Isiye Ndombi, preparedness is the key. “It is essential that we work proactively to keep families safe and prevent disease outbreaks in affected areas.  With flooding in most parts of Fiji and Samoa water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, leptospirosis and typhoid can be fatal, particularly for children.”

“We need to ensure that families are aware of the risks and how to address them, and are supported with access to clean water and proper sanitation,” he said.

Over 8,000 people in Fiji and 7,000 in Samoa have been displaced from their homes after Tropical Cyclone Evan headed away from Fiji today. These families are sheltering in evacuation centres and many lack regular access to water, food and essential items.  

Water and electricity shortages across both countries are creating a potentially dangerous situation for thousands.

UNICEF is in discussion with emergency partners to prepare for any eventual disease outbreak through the provision of other essential health supplies. 

UNICEF is present 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 further information please contact: 

Donna Hoerder, UNICEF Pacific, +679 9265518, 



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