UNICEF Aotearoa statement on Cyclone Gabrielle
On 12 February, cyclone Gabrielle caused widespread destruction and upended the lives of children and families.
UNICEF Aotearoa extends our sincere condolences to the families and communities impacted by the cyclone, and commend the dedication and efforts from government, civil society organisations, whānau, hapū and iwi for working collaboratively to support those in need of assistance.
Giving children a voice is a core UNICEF mandate. Learning from the Covid-19 pandemic, the rights of children should be centred in the response, and all tamariki and rangatahi need opportunities to participate in decisions that impact their lives.
We remind actors within the community, civil society, government and political decision-makers to ensure tamariki and rangatahi are heard in the response, recovery and rebuild following the cyclone.
During and after emergencies, children are especially vulnerable. UNICEF Aotearoa New Zealand advocates for children to have access to psycho-social support and mental health services which are critical to their wellbeing in times of emergency.
Climate change is an increasing threat to children worldwide, and over 1 billion children are at extremely high risk of severe and destructive climate hazards. Children will continue to suffer more than adults with those in the poorest communities bearing the biggest burden. Together we can ensure young people in Aotearoa are afforded opportunities to drive urgent action and find sustainable solutions to the climate crisis, as their lives will continue to be the most severely impacted.
As per our mandate, UNICEF Aotearoa continues to advocate for the rights of children and young people in New Zealand and raise critical funds for UNICEF’s life-saving programmes for children overseas. In Aotearoa, we are working with partner organisations to ensure tamariki and rangatahi have their needs met, their voices heard and are provided long-term support in an emergency response.
UNICEF is the world’s leading humanitarian organisation focused on children. We work in the most challenging areas to provide protection, healthcare and immunisations, education, safe water and sanitation and nutrition. As part of the United Nations, our unrivaled reach spans more than 190 countries and territories, ensuring we are on the ground to help the most disadvantaged children. While part of the UN system, UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations to finance our life-saving work.