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The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is helping children affected by the natural disaster in Vanuatu


Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus signed a directive with which Estonia will allocate 50 000 euros to the UN children’s fund UNICEF to help the children and families of the island nation of Vanuatu following the devastating cyclone.

One of the most severe natural disasters to have ever affected the region destroyed the homes of countless people and took away their main livelihood, which for more than 80% of the population is agriculture. The disaster destroyed many houses, schools, hospitals, crop fields and plots and damaged vital electricity, water and telecommunications infrastructure facilities. Estonia responded to UNICEF's call to help deal with the immediate assistance needs of the inhabitants of Vanuatu in order to help children and their families return to a normal life as quickly as possible.

On March 13 the island nation of Vanuatu with a population of 264 700, including the country’s capital Port Vila, was struck by the most powerful (category five) super cyclone Pam. A state of emergency has been declared and the President has called on the international community for help. The UN has sent a Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team to Vanuatu, in order to map the damage caused by the cyclone and the specific needs that have arisen as a result. Several countries and aid agencies have responded to the requests for assistance. UNICEF estimates that in order to cover the initial post-disaster needs, temporary mobile clinics need to be dispatched, support must be provided for delivering clean drinking water and setting up temporary learning centres and psychological counselling centres. The humanitarian assistance is being coordinated by Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) in collaboration with the United Nations.

It is estimated that half of the island nation’s population – 132 00 people – have been directly affected by the disaster, of whom at least 60 000 are children. One of the challenges of providing humanitarian aid is speedy access to the small islands and the logistics of aid delivery. There are also power outages is some areas.

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