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Children and families in need after Kiribati ferry disaster

Children and families in need of support after tragic ferry disaster in Kiribati

Tarawa, Kiribati: 2 February, 2018 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working with the Government of Kiribati to support children, families and communities affected by the recent Butiraoi ferry disaster.

Government reports state that 88 Kiribati passengers were on the ferry, including 23 children.

“Children are greatly affected in a disaster such as this. Not only those children who were on their way to school the first week of term and tragically lost their lives, but also the schools, families, and communities who are left behind to deal with this tragedy,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Pacific Representative. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Kiribati.”

Mr. Yett added, “UNICEF and WHO together with partners in Kiribati are working to reach families, including children who are most vulnerable after a disaster. Counsellors will also be travelling by boat this week to Nonouti Island to support therapeutic activities with affected children. Trainings for counsellors will ensure children receive age-appropriate help to deal with this trauma, and get back to school and a normal routine as soon as possible.”

UNICEF and WHO have also provided the government with medical supplies, and are supporting the emergency medical response. WHO is working closely with the Kiribati Ministry of Health and Medical Services to coordinate clinical care for survivors by ensuring the hospitals are well prepared to receive incoming patients and, if necessary, to manage and identify deceased victims in a way that is respectful and culturally sensitive.

“This is a tragic event, and our hearts are with those affected,” said Dr Corinne Capuano, WHO Representative for the South Pacific and Director of Pacific Technical Support. “WHO has deployed an additional two emergency staff to Kiribati, who are on the ground supporting the response, and we are committed to continuing our support as long as needed by the community and government.”

About UNICEF
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit http://www.unicefpacific.org/ Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook

About WHO
WHO’s goal is to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world. WHO staff work side by side with governments and other partners to ensure the highest attainable level of health for all people. For more information about WHO, and its work in the Western Pacific Region, visit http://www.wpro.who.int/en/. Follow WHO on Twitter and Facebook.

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