TO address water issues in the Western Division in the aftermath of last week's floods, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) together with the Fiji Red Cross is distributing water and sanitation kits to families in extreme need.
Concern about access to clean water for drinking and bathing and the real threat of diseases like leptospirosis, diarrhoea and typhoid has led to UNICEF and Red Cross giving out kits which contain water containers, purification tablets and soap ù to assist in the safe storage and preparation of clean drinking water and to support adequate hygiene.
UNICEF revealed that 1000 kits have been distributed with more to arrive soon for further distribution.
UNICEF's Pacific representative Doctor Isiye Ndombi highlighted the need for "being prepared."
"It is essential that we work pro actively to prevent disease outbreaks in flood-affected areas. Diarrhoea, leptospirosis and typhoid can be fatal, especially so for children. We need to make sure that families are aware of the risks and how to address them, and are supported with access to water and sanitation."
Dr Ndombi also pointed out a practical solution to infants' food and water needs in inaccessible flood hit areas.
"Providing mothers of infants with a safe space and the support to breastfeed is the simplest and best way we can protect our youngest children, particularly when hygiene and water is a challenge."
Health authorities revealed in a recent Emergency Operations Centre meeting in Lautoka that there are currently 177 cases of leptospirosis, 112 cases of dengue fever and 104 patients with typhoid in the Division.
There are close to 13,121 people sheltering in 147 evacuation centres of which 55 are schools.