Mass Vaccinations in Vanuatu in Cyclone Aftermath

Humanitarian relief agencies have undertaken a mass vaccination campaign in Vanuatu due to the absence of drinking water and fear of outbreak of infectious diseases in the aftermath of cyclone Pam

Published: 19th March 2015 04:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2015 04:16 PM   |  A+A-

cyclone-pam
By AP

SYDNEY: Humanitarian relief agencies have undertaken a mass vaccination campaign in Vanuatu due to the absence of drinking water and fear of outbreak of infectious diseases in the aftermath of cyclone Pam, media reported on Thursday.

"We've already vaccinated 1,000 children under the age of five in the last 24 hours and we're aiming for 10,000 within 10 days," Efe news agency quoted Alice Clements of the Unicef in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila as telling Radio New Zealand.

Another task was to get children to go back to schools in order to reduce stress levels, she added.

Disaster management authorities in Vanuatu reported seven people killed as a direct result of the cyclone, despite earlier having reduced the count from 24 to 11.

The figures have been further reduced as four people were found to have died in a hospital while the cyclone was raging throughout Vanuatu, an impoverished nation comprising several islands in the South Pacific, a source said.

Radio New Zealand's correspondent in Port Vila reported that the damage caused by Pam was worse than previously calculated.

Initially, it was estimated that 70 percent of the country was devastated, however, after evaluating the peripheral islands it was found that 90 percent of the country had suffered damage.

Vanuatu last year suffered an onslaught by Cyclone Lusi that left 10 people dead, besides damaging infrastructure and crops and contaminating water sources.

While Vanuatu has been the hardest hit by the catastrophe, thousands of people from nine South Pacific nations, including Kiribati, have suffered the impact of cyclones Pam and Nathan, which are expected to remain in the region until Friday, according to Red Cross.

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