15 March 2011
UNICEF Executive Director Mr Anthony Lake today issued a statement expressing the organisation’s sympathy for the tragic loss of life following the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The Japan Committee and the US Fund for UNICEF have immediately made an emergency appeal to fully support the people of Japan, especially children, in the aftermath of the triple catastrophe.
|Last Friday, 11 March, Japan was struck by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake and the consequent tsunami, leaving the world stunned. The scale of this disaster is immense. New threats of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan are still emerging as the tragic aftermath unfolds. All staff of the Japan Committee for UNICEF and in UNICEF’s Tokyo office are safe and undertaking an initial assessment with other UN agencies to swiftly spring into action of emergency relief operation. The organisation and the US National Committee have swiftly sprung into action to assist local emergency relief operation. A joint UN assessment mission is also being deployed to Japan.|
“As in all emergencies of such devastating magnitude, children are the most vulnerable. Working in close cooperation with the Japan Committee for UNICEF, we have offered our support to protect the children affected by this catastrophe and to provide critical services in the days ahead,” said Mr Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan, one of the world’s most generous nations. We stand ready to assist them as they have helped so many others, in these, their days of greatest need.”
|Ms Irene Chan, Chief Executive of HKCU also said, “The appeals made by UNICEF’s Committees are going to help UNICEF’s relief assistance to Japan in supporting its government through technical and specialist expertise with focuses on child protection and psychosocial support. Supplies such as ‘school-in-a-box’ and recreation kits would also be procured to ensure children’s right to quality education and to help them overcome the effects of the disaster.”|
The priority for the technical teams on the ground is to reach out and provide timely help to children and their devastated communities. JCU has already allocated funds for the initial relief response. UNICEF staff is offering technical support in delivering humanitarian assistance including areas such as health, nutrition, education, child protection and logistics. As the new school year is starting early April, school supplies and facilities are key to reopening schools in time. UNICEF also plans to set up child-friendly spaces with recreation items and psychosocial support to help children recover.