NEW YORK, 13 APRIL 2020 (UN NEWS CENTRE)—The United Nations stands ready to support four Pacific island nations devastated by the passing of Tropical Cyclone Harold last week.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres was deeply saddened by reports of the loss of lives and destruction in Vanuatu, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Tonga, according to a statement issued on Sunday by his Spokesperson.

“The Secretary-General expresses his deep solidarity with the people of the Pacific as they face the impact of this cyclone, along with other climate-related challenges, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, which adds a worrying new dimension to existing vulnerabilities”, said Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

The monster storm has left more than two dozen people dead, according to media reports, while homes, buildings and food crops were destroyed.

Thousands urgently  need shelter, water, sanitation and food.

“The Secretary-General commends the governments and first responders in the affected countries for their pre-emptive work to make people safe ahead of the storm and to meet their immediate needs afterwards,” Dujarric continued.

“The United Nations stands ready to support these efforts”.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)  is assisting authorities in Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon islands to reach those children most in need, the agency’s Representative in the region, Sheldon Yett, said on Twitter.

Cyclone Harold hit as countries worldwide are working to contain the spread of COVID-19.

There have been nearly 1.7 million cases of the new coronavirus disease globally, and more than 105,000 deaths, according to latest data from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande expressed sadness about cyclone Harold devastation in the Pacific.

“Saddened to hear about cyclone devastation across #Fiji & #Pacific, a place I visited but a month ago. My thoughts are with its people. I urge for solidarity among the international community to support states who are battling additional #ClimateAction challenges while facing #COVID19, he said on twitter ….PACNEWS