Disaster risk reduction and emergencies
UNICEF is on the ground before, during, and after emergencies, working to reach children and families with lifesaving aid and long-term assistance.
The Pacific Islands are among the most vulnerable in the world facing many natural hazards, such as cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, whilst having limited means to prepare and respond to them. During emergencies, children are usually among the first to feel the brunt of any disaster.
Threats are also increasing: Climate change is posing increasingly severe threats to many of the islands in the Pacific, particularly the low lying atoll islands and coastal communities.
Pacific islanders are already facing the impacts of climate change which include more frequent and longer droughts, increased severity of tropical cyclones and typhoons, flooding, coastal erosion, as well as the salinization of arable land and safe drinking water sources.
Challenges of natural disasters and climate change include:
- Increasing migration and rapid urbanisation in the region. This is leading to a rise in overcrowded and temporary homes, environments where children face increased protection and health risks, and adds additional pressures to already constrained basic services;
- A prediction to increase the frequencies of El Niño and La Niña effects significantly in the Pacific, which will further increase the incidence of severe droughts, floods and damaging tropical storms; and
- Severe socioeconomic impacts.
In partnership with the governments and humanitarian partners, UNICEF works to prepare for and respond to emergencies in the region as well as to prevent or minimize the risks ahead of them.
Across the Pacific, we are working towards:
- Ensuring schools, children and their communities are better prepared to prevent emergencies from becoming disasters;
- Quick and effective relief for affected people following an emergency, particularly those who are most vulnerable such as children, women and people with disabilities;
- Building capacity of the education system to strengthen resilience and prepare children as well as school communities to respond to emergencies and disasters; and
- Having prepositioned relief items covering tens of thousands of people ready for immediate delivery to those in need in the event of an emergency.