TV’s Ireland AM covers Hurricane Dorian emergency

Hurricane Dorian left 70,000 people without a home when it slammed into Abaco and the Grand Bahama islands on September 1st.

The Category-5 storm sat over the region for 40 hours, leaving behind an unprecedented path of destruction and 18,000 affected children.

UNICEF is on the ground helping the children who have been left in need.

Survivors at a loss

The children who survived lost homes and relatives, their families lost their livelihoods and there is little food and water.

A UNICEF first responder team is on the ground assessing and responding to critical needs such as water, sanitation and hygiene, health, education and shelter. Child protection and child welfare are key concerns.

UNICEF Ireland spokesperson Aedín Donnelly told Virgin Media’s Ireland AM show about conditions for children on the ground.

The devastation has been complete. The area’s infrastructure will need to be rebuilt and authorities are considering the best way to approach that.

Disaster response

In the meantime, UNICEF’s disaster response has quickly scaled up. Within days, ten staff with emergency expertise were deployed, each of them bring a particular specialty to the field.

The lack of safe water and adequate sanitation puts children and families at risk of contracting waterborne diseases meaning water and sanitation has been prioritised for immediate attention. A week after the disaster struck, our agency’s first relief plane arrived carrying 1.5 tonnes of emergency supplies. Those supplies helped 9,500 people and included hundreds of thousands of water purification tablets, water tanks and jerry cans.

Back to school

By the middle of September, UNICEF’s response  expanded to include the enrollment of 10,000 students in school, all of those children have been deemed to be at risk by our child protection specialists. Children experience trauma are proven to do better when normal routines are re-established and they are back in school. UNICEF is working with the Government to ensure children can access school even when their family has been displaced to another region.

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