Workers at Ligaliga Fusi and Sons Funeral Services sort through some of the child sized caskets currently in high demand after the measles outbreak took hold killing 73 people in Samoa. Many of the deaths have been children as they are more susceptible to the virus. Funeral director and owner Tofilau Henry Papalii-Bourke says in the space of two weeks he has had to bury the equivalent of a classroom full of children.
As of December 16th 2019, there have been 5,200 confirmed cases of measles and 73 deaths in Samoa - out of a population of just over 200,000 people. A measles outbreak beginning in October has impacted the small island nation, which before the outbreak had a vaccination rate of only between 28-40% according to the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef). Responding to the outbreak, the Samoan government has issued a state of emergency and enacted a mobile vaccination program which has now reportedly vaccinated over 90% of the population.
Apia, Samoa. 9th December 2019. Matthew Abbott for The New York Times.