NEW YORK, 3 December 2007 – The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF today announced a donation of $450,000 for relief and recovery efforts for the victims of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh.
The cyclone hit Bangladesh on November 15 affecting about 8.5 million people in 30 districts. More than 3,000 deaths have been confirmed to date. Approximately half of the affected people are children and an estimated 600,000 of them are under five years of age.
The contribution – which will be evenly split between immediate relief and longer-term recovery interventions - will go towards meeting the immediate funding needs of UNICEF, currently estimated at almost $30-million.
George Harrison had a long association with Bangladesh and UNICEF. The landmark benefit concert held on August 1st 1971, which aside from George himself featured Ravi Shankar, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell and Billy Preston, was the first of it’s kind and is recognized as the inspiration behind more recent humanitarian fundraising ventures like ‘Band Aid’ and ‘Live Aid’.
“I am pleased that the commitment that George and Ravi Shankar made to the crisis in Bangladesh more than three decades ago is once again reaching out to assist the victims of Cyclone Sidr. Children are at their most vulnerable during natural disasters and it is incumbent upon all of us to act fast to save as many lives as possible,” said Olivia Harrison.
“With such a large number of children affected in Bangladesh, UNICEF is playing a key role in ensuring their survival in the coming weeks and months,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the US Fund for UNICEF. “This contribution keeps alive George Harrison’s longstanding tradition of goodwill towards Bangladesh, but shows that children need our assistance, regardless of the borders they are born between.” In 2005, Mrs. Harrison launched the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF in her late husband’s name with an initial donation of $1 million. It specifically targets UNICEF programs in Bangladesh but also provides lifesaving assistance to children suffering from civil conflict, natural disasters and poverty elsewhere. The launch of the fund coincided with the release of a DVD and CD of ‘The Concert for Bangladesh’ which generates further income for the fund.
With cold weather on the way, children and women in Bangladesh require urgent life-saving assistance such as medical supplies, food, clothing and shelter to be able to survive. Other critical priorities include ensuring access to a safe water supply and sanitation facilities to mitigate the threat of waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery, to which children are particularly susceptible.
UNICEF is working with the government, other UN agencies and partner NGOs to bring relief in the areas of water and sanitation, health, education and child protection. UNICEF has been on the ground in Bangladesh since 1952, with a staff of more than 220. Since the early 1970s, one of the world's largest UNICEF-supported water supply programs has been operating in the country.
About UNICEF UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicefusa.org. Or call 800 4UNICEF.