27 Oct 2009

UNICEF says Samoa's pre-schoolers may be forgotten victims of tsunami

1:16 pm on 27 October 2009

The UN Children's Fund says it will shortly have an assessment of how the tsunami impacted on Samoa's pre-schools but it says the plight of the children involved may be a forgotten chapter of the disaster.

The tsunami destroyed 11 pre-schools and damaged another five, affecting around 600 children.

UNICEF's Emergency Education Specialist, Phuong Nguyen, says now that the emergency response is moving into the recovery phase, it is essential that the educational needs of young children are not overlooked.

Ms Nguyen says an assessment report is expected this week, after which UNICEF will work with partner agencies to get young children back in school.

"The type of response that needs to be had here is of course to rebuild the pre-schools, to supply the education supplies, to make sure that water and sanitation facilities are back in place. So those are some of the responses that we would need to put in place."

Phuong Nguyen of UNICEF