UN stands ready to assist as Tropical Cyclone Pam threatens Vanuatu,Pacific region

Local residents in Port Vila, Vanuatu, stocking up on emergency supplies as Tropical Cyclone Pam approaches. Photo: UNICEF Pacific

13 March 2015 – As the pacific island nation of Vanuatu braces for Tropical Cyclone Pam, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced today that it is standing by to assist the Government.

Currently, Cyclone Pam is category 5 – the highest category – meaning that wind speeds exceeded 249 km/hr, according to the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The agency's regional meteorological centre in Fiji is monitoring the cyclone, which is expected to result in major flooding and landslides.

“We are committed to helping children and families as they prepare for one of the most severe cyclones,” said UNICEF's Deputy Representative in the Pacific, Isabelle Austin.

“UNICEF is also supporting a holistic approach to the emergency preparedness and response by ensuring that support is provided to nutrition, health, education and protection clusters,” she added in a news release.

UNICEF is working with a number of actors, including the Ministry of Health, Rural Water Supply, Vanuatu Red Cross, French Red Cross, and the World Health Organization (WHO) to coordinate water, sanitation and hygiene activities.

The Government of Vanuatu has in place well organised preparations and plans, and has convened committed humanitarian partners for the preparedness and response phase, including UNICEF, according to the news release.

UNICEF also remains on standby to provide support to other nations in the Pacific – Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, and Fiji as they are also experiencing severe weather at this time.

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