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UNICEF NZ appeals for donations to aid cyclone-hit Tonga

17 January 2014

UNICEF NZ Emergency Appeal. Donate at: www.unicef.org.nz/tonga

As details of the full impact of damage continue to emerge, UNICEF NZ is launching an emergency appeal for donations to get help to those that need it most urgently.

Dennis McKinlay, UNICEF NZ Executive Director said, “As a member of the Pacific Humanitarian Team UNICEF has been coordinating with the Tongan Government and relevant agencies to ensure a coordinated and effective emergency response.

Alongside UNICEF Pacific and UNICEF Australia we are working to get prepositioned supplies along with personnel to the worst hit Ha’apai Group of Islands.”

After a natural disaster such as Cyclone Ian, the main needs for those affected are access to clean, safe drinking water, food, shelter and sanitation.

“In an emergency, children are also at their most vulnerable and often need psychosocial support that UNICEF can help to provide. Twelve schools have reported major damage so making sure these are up and running for the start of the new school term will also be a priority for UNICEF in the coming weeks and months,” Mr McKinlay added.

Within the Pacific Region, UNICEF actively leads clusters of agencies working in Water and Sanitation, Education and Nutrition, and in Child Protection and will immediately begin to spearhead activities in these areas.

UNICEF has been working closely with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Regional Office for the Pacific and the Tongan National Emergency Management Office to receive updates on emerging needs and priorities.

Funds raised by generous Kiwis will go towards providing urgent water tanks and purification tablets, hygiene kits, educational supplies and psychosocial support for children. Mr McKinlay added, “As a charity relying on public support, we urgently need donations to support UNICEF’s emergency relief effort.

Latest reports suggest that 50 percent of buildings in Ha’apai have been destroyed with a further 34 per cent having major damage. Roughly 2,000 people remain displaced in formal evacuation centres with additional numbers likely to be utilising makeshift shelters.”

ENDS

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