|© UNICEF India/2004|
|UNICEF is providing 2,475 water storage tanks to the camps and hospitals in the hardest-hit areas|
The Government of Tamil Nadu has set up 200 relief sites in the state in seven affected districts. An estimated 200,000 people are in relief camps in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry.
The south of India has been gravely impacted by this weekend’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting deadly tsunamis, which have left nine south Asian countries in chaos and ruin. At last count 4,000 people have died in India. Thousands of children are missing or have been injured.
The situation on the Indian islands of Andaman and Nicobar, which lie close to the epicentre of the quake, remains unclear.
|© UNICEF India/2004|
|Children are lining up in front of the water tanks provided by UNICEF|
UNICEF is also providing relief supplies to the camps and hospitals in the hardest-hit areas. UNICEF is providing 2,475 water storage tanks (500 litres each), 3 million chlorine tablets and 70,000 oral rehydration packets. In Tamil Nadu, they are providing medical supplies sufficient to serve 30 health centers as well as 30,000 blankets.“Ensuring that families who have moved into relief camps get clean drinking water is a top priority,” said UNICEF’s supply officer in Delhi, Mr. Kalesh Kumar. “That means getting water tanks into those areas as quickly as possible and supplying purification tablets as well as oral rehydration salt packets. That will save more lives from being lost in this disaster, which is our number one job right now.”
The UNICEF team visiting Kanyakumari was told in one such camp run by a local church that "we may be on the brink of a diarrhoea epidemic" with 4,000 people depending on 15 toilets in the church premises.Most of the survivors arrived at the camps with nothing
“Villages have become ghost villages with broken, empty houses and stench of decomposed human bodies prompting the police where to look for victims. Thousands of families have abandoned their houses and are living in camps that are being run by churches and non-governmental institutions,” said Anupam Srivastava, a UNICEF staff member from the Bihar office who was deployed to Tamil Nadu.
UNICEF is working with its partner agencies and the government to bring much-needed assistance to the survivors of the disaster.
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