Today, UNICEF and the Government of New Zealand announce a new NZ$3,030,000 partnership to support the Government of Fiji to respond to the recovery needs of about 90,000 Fijians, including over 30,000 children, affected by Tropical Cyclones Harold, Yasa and Ana. This continues the strong partnership New Zealand has with UNICEF to improve the lives of all children living in Fiji and throughout the Pacific.
“The Government of New Zealand is delighted to partner with UNICEF to provide WASH, education and nutrition services to cyclone affected areas. This support works closely with the Government of Fiji and local community partners to improve hygiene practices and childhood nutrition. This support will help reduce the rates of water borne diseases and child malnutrition and, improve community resilience to future natural disasters. Supporting and enabling good hygiene is a key public health measure in the fight against COVID-19, which makes this support timely and relevant,” said New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Fiji, H.E. Mr Jonathan Curr.
These tropical cyclones caused the destruction of essential water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to families, schools and health care facilities, exposing people to the risk of getting sick from unsafe drinking water, open defecation and from not being able to regularly wash their hands with soap and water.
In addition, the combination of the tropical cyclones and ongoing risks related to COVID-19 have created hurdles in ensuring learning continuity and safe school operations. Livelihoods have been damaged leading to rising nutrition issues including concerns on infant and young child feeding practices.
This partnership will support children and families to recover from the impacts of these recent tropical cyclones, and help them to benefit from quality, inclusive, WASH, education and nutrition services. The partnership will also include the roll out of a campaign to promote the full participation of communities in the services available.
“Pacific Island countries, including Fiji, are amongst the most at risk to natural disasters. We thank the Government of New Zealand for this support, and together with the Government of Fiji, partners and communities, we will ensure that the most vulnerable, especially children, have access to good health, nutrition and education,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. “This is crucial, especially with the challenges faced in the aftermath of devastating natural disasters and the ongoing pandemic.”
This three-year partnership plays a key part in supporting the ongoing recovery. It will strengthen the national capacity and focus on sustainable solutions for recovery and resilience of families and communities to cope with any future disasters and climate risks.
First day of school, students of Koroinasolo Village School in Bua, Vanua Levu pose in front of their classroom during recess after a after a Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Yasa destructed their Island home.