UNICEF On Standby To Support Governments of Samoa, Tonga and Fiji as Cyclone Gita intensifies

SUVA, 13 February 2018 – As Tropical Cyclone Gita intensifies, the strongest storm to ever hit Tonga, and heads towards Fiji, UNICEF offers its support to the affected Pacific island countries of Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.

“UNICEF is ready to support the Governments of Tonga and Samoa respond to the emergencies caused by Tropical Cyclone Gita. We are also on standby to provide support to the Government of Fiji as they brace for Cyclone Gita,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Pacific Representative.

In Tonga, about 80,000 people, including 32,000 children, are at risk from the Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Gita that hit on Monday night, with widespread damage to infrastructure and floods reported.

“UNICEF is prepared to support the governments’ response, to ensure urgent life-saving support is provided, including access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene for those families affected,” he added.

UNICEF is working closely with the Tongan National Emergency Office and the UN Coordination office in Tonga to coordinate activities and respond as required. Emergency supplies including portable water field test kits, to check for safety of drinking water; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Kits, which include purification tablets; water containers and hygiene products such as soap and menstrual hygiene products; inter-agency emergency health kits that include medicines, micronutrient powders, Vitamin A capsules; and tents, are being prepositioned for shipment to Tonga.

In Samoa, basic emergency supplies are already available and have been offered to the Samoan government if required to support the needs of affected children and families affected.

Supplies are also prepositioned in Fiji for use to affected areas and the National Disaster Management Office in Fiji have been offered the use of RapidPro – an open-source platform of applications that can help the government deliver information quickly and connect communities to lifesaving services through the short message service (SMS) for mobile phones.#####

For more information, please contact:
Cate Heinrich, UNICEF Pacific,
Tel: +679 9925 606, cheinrich@unicef.org

Donna Hoerder
Communication Specialist – External Relations,
UNICEF Pacific
Phone: (679) 323-6100 Email: dhoerder@unicef.org