DILI, 19 APRIL 2021 – New Zealand is providing USD 400,000 to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support response actions for multiple ongoing emergencies in Timor-Leste. The announcement was made in Dili by the New Zealand Ambassador, H.E. Philip Hewitt, and UNICEF Representative, Bilal Durrani.
“New Zealand and UNICEF have been working together in Timor-Leste to realize the rights of children over a number of years, including setting up 104 community pre-schools benefitting over 3000 children in Ermera and Viqueque, and supporting the reopening of schools in the past year,” says Phillip Hewitt, the Ambassador of New Zealand in Timor-Leste. “This is a continuation of that focus, to ensure children are safe and receive the right support during the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent flooding.”
The funding from the Government of New Zealand would enable UNICEF to expand COVID-19 prevention and response actions. This would include the provision of psychosocial support and access to education materials and hygiene supplies for children in isolation facilities and mandatory quarantine, support for children in residential care facilities in areas where the imposition of sanitary fences have restricted access to education, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene in health centers. Funding would also be utilized for the flood response, including supporting child-friendly spaces, providing psychosocial support and access to learning activities, and water, sanitation and hygiene supplies.
“Over the last year, UNICEF has provided support to the Government of Timor-Leste, both for COVID-19 prevention and response and during the recent floods that have added to the pressure on children, families and national response systems,” says Bilal Durrani, UNICEF Representative in Timor-Leste. “This support from New Zealand will help provide humanitarian support to children and families at a critical time for the country, when thousands of people continue to remain in shelters as they cannot return to flood damaged houses, and when COVID-19 cases have shown a recent hike.”
In addition, the Government of New Zealand is also providing solar lanterns, water purification tablets, water pumps, family hygiene kits, mother and infant kits, generators and jerry cans, with UNICEF working in coordination with the Ministry of Civil Protection to distribute supplies to those most in need.
UNICEF has been supporting the Ministry of Health in its COVID-19 prevention and response efforts, including raising awareness on COVID-19 prevention, provision of medical supplies, improving infection prevention and control, supporting distance learning and child protection. UNICEF also brought in COVID-19 vaccines allocated by the COVAX facility and is supporting implementation of the vaccine deployment plan. UNICEF’s flood response has involved the provision of thousands of WASH supplies, and support to setting up Child Friendly Spaces, nutrition screening and learning opportunities for children and families in flood evacuation centers and flood-affected communities.