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UNICEF calls for special attention to be provided to children in the current humanitarian crisis

Sarajevo, 3. June 2014. – Responding to the humanitarian crisis caused by the worst floods in over 100 years and in accordance with its core commitments for children, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina provided immediate emergency response to affected populations, monitored children’s needs and providing assistance for early recovery. 

Based on external reports, requests and email conversations UNICEF has identified 73 ‘affected’ municipalities (42 in FBiH, 30 in RS, and BD). In these municipalities, about 300,000 people have been affected; 60,000 children 0-18; 16,000 children aged 0-5. The situation is especially difficult for children with disabilities, children from isolated communities and Roma. Preliminary data shows that more than 800 Roma families have been affected by floods, and that all the collective centers have Roma population.

“We are very concerned with the impact of the floods on children as many of them do not have access to safe environments. One of our priorities is therefore to establish child friendly spaces where children can be protected and participate in age-appropriate activities, play with their peers, receive psychosocial support to recover from their trauma while their parents can focus on reorganizing their lives. Meanwhile, we are mobilizing partners to support the refurbishment of schools to ensure a normal start of school year for all children on 1st September.” – said Florence Bauer, UNICEF Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


As the immediate urgent response, UNICEF in coordination with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and with the Red Cross Society of BiH procured and distributed chlorine for the purification of drinking water and for the disinfection of public services. In addition, UNICEF with civil society partners and volunteers is distributing high-quality, essential hygiene kits for babies and mothers, to the most vulnerable families in the affected areas. UNICEF is now purchasing vaccines, providing psychosocial support, supporting the establishment of child friendly spaces and starting to refurbish preschools, amongst other relief activities.

 

In the coming weeks and months, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with Governments, the UN Country Team, and civil society will continue to support early recovery for children. Some activities include:

• Coordinate with partners to ensure safe water supply and appropriate sanitation facilities are restored in schools and health facilities;
• Establish child friendly spaces in affected communities to ensure children have access to a safe environments with age-appropriate activities
• Provide psycho social support and ensure effective referral mechanisms are in place for children and youth affected by the flooding; 
Refurbish damaged schools and pre-schools and provide didactic materials; 
• Supply school kits and/or supplies for children to ensure timely resumption of education activities; 
• Support restoration of immunization programmes with a focus on the prevention of polio as BiH is at high risk for Polio (according to the World Health Organization). This will include the procurement of OPV vaccines (40,000 doses already purchased), the procurement of cold chain equipment and the organization of catch up immunization campaigns for unimmunized children (with a focus on the most vulnerable ones);
• Support to community nursing and outreach for young children through integrated early childhood development services established within the health centers for parents and young children in the most affected areas (including outreach to Roma); 
• Training for school and preschool teachers on how to provide adequate support and referral to children affected by the flooding, once they come back to school.
• Communication and educational activities for children on life skills, hygiene, mine awareness, and prevention of violence;
• Communication and outreach services for parents to promote breastfeeding and optimal infant and young child feeding.

 

 

 

 

UNICEF poziva da u trenutnoj humanitarnoj krizi posebna pažnja bude pružena djeci

 


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