Suva, 1 May 2020 – UNICEF welcomes the support from the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to quickly transport UNICEF supplies to Fiji and Vanuatu to support children and their families in urgent need in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Harold.
Amidst COVID-19 challenges, including border closures and travel restrictions, the Australian Defence Force has provided support to airlift more than 25 metric tonnes of emergency response materials on four flights to Vanuatu and Fiji – two of the countries hardest hit by TC Harold which struck on 6 April.
This assistance is being delivered to the Pacific Island countries according to their specific response needs from UNICEF’s warehouse based in Australia, supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The emergency response materials that are being transported from Australia include tents to provide temporary learning spaces or to be used as temporary clinics, as well as tarpaulins to be used as shelters. Dignity kits that include items such as soap, torches, sanitary products, and water buckets will also help to ensure that children have access to clean water and hygiene.
“Addressing the emergency needs of children in the aftermath of a category five cyclone in the midst of a global pandemic is no easy task,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to the Pacific.
“We greatly appreciate the support provided by the Australian Government in helping children and families to rebuild their lives,” he added.
UNICEF is working closely with the Governments of Vanuatu and Fiji to reach communities with essential supplies to support families to recover from the destruction of this natural disaster that claimed the lives of 31 people in the Pacific region.
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