UNICEF dispatches emergency supplies to children in cyclone-affected Vanuatu

While distributing its pre-positioned emergency supplies in Vanuatu, UNICEF also has dispatched additional life-saving supplies for affected communities from its Pacific regional warehouse in Suva, Fiji. This includes health, education, child protection, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supplies.

© UNICEF Pacific/Humans of Vanautu

“The supplies have been packed today and will be airlifted to Vanuatu tomorrow,” UNICEF Pacific Deputy Representative, Ms Isabelle Austin said. “Digicel provided a free airlift and volunteers helped pack the supplies through the night at a warehouse in Suva. These include basic health kits, oral rehydration salt (ORS) sachets, zinc tablets, vitamin A capsules, de-worming (Albendazole) tablets, school backpacks with stationery supplies, recreation kits, hygiene kits, water tanks, soap for handwashing, collapsible water containers and water purification tables.”

Government and humanitarian partners are beginning to conduct comprehensive assessments that will doubtless quantify additional needs, especially beyond the city of Port Vila and on other islands. Meanwhile, these supplies are for immediate needs and to address serious concerns about risks to children’s and families’ health and hygiene, as well as children’s learning and psycho-social needs.

The supplies include five basic health kits with each kit covering 10,000 patients; 1,508 school backpacks with stationery supplies; 31,300 ORS sachets; 330 zinc tablets; 32 de-worming tablets; 69 recreation kits to reach a total of 6,210 children (90 children per kit); 3,000 WASH kits; 200 hygiene kits; 3,000 soaps for hand washing; 5 x 5,000 litre collapsible water tanks and 5 x 1,500 litre collapsible water tanks.

Vanuatu’s international airport - Bauerfield International airport - will reopen for commercial flights tomorrow (17 March). A number of shipping vessels carrying relief items departed for Vanuatu from Fiji on 16 March. UNICEF, World Food Programme and other partners are working with the National Disaster Management Office in Vanuatu to set up and run emergency logistics hubs to assure smooth flow of humanitarian supplies in country.

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