|Former U.S. President Bill Clinton at today's press conference. In the background are UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy and the President of the US Fund for UNICEF, Chip Lyons.|
NEW YORK, 10 January 2005 - Former US President Bill Clinton has written the first cheque to launch a new fund with UNICEF to bring life saving water and sanitation to survivors of the tsunami. The partnership will strengthen UNICEF’s work in protecting children from water borne diseases in areas still devastated by the catastrophe.
“In the weeks and months ahead more resources will be needed to provide clean water and adequate sanitation both for survival and for the prevention of the spread of disease,” said President Clinton at a press conference at UNICEF’s New York Headquarters.
“Diseases such as dysentery and diarrhoea accompany the absence of clean water and the presence of polluted water - and they disproportionately impact children. The money will be used by UNICEF, working with others, to make sure that we do everything we can to keep people alive and prevent the spread of disease.”
UNICEF is already providing hundreds of thousands of litres of safe water, purification tablets and soap to the worst affected areas. The fund will enable that work to continue along with building latrines and repairing water supply systems. Hospitals, health centres and schools will be given priority.
“Hillary and I have already made a contribution to the fund and hope others will follow suit,” said President Clinton. He added that many people had already pledged support.
UNICEF’s Executive Director Carol Bellamy said she welcomed President Clinton’s initiative which is part of a nationwide fundraising campaign he helped launch with President George W. Bush and former President George H.W. Bush.
“The tsunami has shown us how water can take lives; this initiative will demonstrate how water can save lives,” she said.