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Delivering supplies in the Dominican Republic

© UNICEF/ Dominican Republic/Luis Emilio Gonzalez 2007
Yauilka Carrasco, with her three children in the Monoguayabo temporary shelter.

Santo Domingo West, 5 November, 2007Hundreds of families affected by the torrential rains of Tropical Storm Noel have found shelter in Las Américas school in Manoguayabo, a suburb of Santo Domingo.

UNICEF and the Dominican Red Cross have been delivering food and hygiene items for children, who account for 68 of the 266 people now living in the school.

Despite the difficulties, the atmosphere is lively. Children are playing in the playground while a group of mothers listen to the public health representatives who are teaching them how to purify drinking water. One classroom now serves as a medical centre while, in another, women sift through donated clothing..

Natalia Mota is one of the mothers receiving food supplies from UNICEF. She has four children between the ages of 5 and 14 and is here with Will, her youngest. Before the torrential rains, she was making a living for herself and her family by selling food. Now, she says, she has lost everything, including her house, and has taken shelter at the school.

“I feel both good and bad,” she tells UNICEF staff as she receives the food items. “ I am thankful for your assistance but I lost everything and it’s hard. I must accept God’s will”.

© UNICEF/ Dominican Republic/Luis Emilio Gonzalez 2007
Natalia Mota with her five-year-old son, Will, holding food items distributed by UNICEF.

Natalia Mota is just one of many people at the school who are feeling uncertain about what the future holds. Ramona Bautista, another mother holding her 18-month-old baby over her seven-month pregnant belly, is waiting to go back home but does not know if and when that will be possible.

By Monday, 5 November, 85 people had been killed by the storm, 48 were missing, 4,406 had been rescued and some 69,724 are displaced (26, 491 are living in 133 Government temporary shelters, 10,500 of them children).

In addition, 137 communities are currently isolated, approximately 16,652 homes have been partially affected or totally destroyed and 46 bridges and highways have been damaged.

Meanwhile, the children are oblivious to their parents anguish. Yauilka Carrasco’s children let out a cry of joy when they see a pack of biscuits. “Oh, mum, some biscuits! Give me one, I want you to give me one!” says Brauly, her youngest son.

People here have lost everything: their homes, their clothes and their belongings. Still, they smile and share what little they have with each other.

For further information
Patricia García, pgarcia@unicef.org, UNICEF Dominican Republic

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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.

 

 
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