As Tsunami Anniversary Nears, Crises Continue in Pakistan and Elsewhere
NEW YORK, 29 November 2005 – Issuing a preliminary one-year update on its recovery efforts in the tsunami zone, UNICEF said today that 2005 has been an unprecedented year of emergencies for children, with an extraordinary series of natural disasters, food crises, and conflicts tearing at the fabric of life for tens of millions of people.
From the dozen countries struck by the tsunami to the conflict zone of Darfur; from nutrition emergencies in Niger and Malawi to crop failures in Ethiopia and Eritrea; and from the devastating Atlantic hurricane season to the epic Pakistan earthquake, UNICEF said it had not responded to such an array of humanitarian emergencies in a single year in recent memory.
In its summary of its continuing effort to help rebuild children’s lives in the tsunami zone, UNICEF said that while millions of people had been kept healthy and children were largely back in school, the real process of rebuilding is just beginning. The organization detailed its work, in conjunction with governments and a wide array of partners, to support children in their recovery, including building temporary schools, rehabilitating water systems, organizing family care for children who lost their parents, and keeping children healthy through immunization and other health initiatives.
Despite progress, however, UNICEF said a long road remained for the victims of the tsunami.
But the tsunami was just the start of an unprecedented string of humanitarian crises, UNICEF noted. A day before the United Nations launches its annual “consolidated appeal” for countries in crisis, the children’s agency said that an extraordinary series of natural disasters and conflicts throughout the year continue to endanger children’s lives.
In Darfur, one of the world’s most complex and inaccessible territories, malnutrition is spreading to parts of the population largely unaffected until recently, and UNICEF is working to reach 1.5 million children caught in renewed conflict there.
And while many sudden-onset emergencies appeared in front-page news coverage, other countries where suffering is more deeply entrenched remained in the shadows. Despite the sharp differences from emergency to emergency, two overarching facts defined the year’s humanitarian crises: the scale has been enormous and virtually no continent has been spared.
UNICEF said it would continue its work in the tsunami zone and all the other humanitarian emergency locales as long as it has funding.
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For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 157 countries to help children survive and thrive from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe 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 voluntary contributions from individuals,
businesses, foundations and governments.
For the complete tsunami update, including video footage, please visit: http://www.unicef.org/emerg/disasterinasia/24615_main.html
Note to broadcasters:
Video footage of UNICEF programs in tsunami affected countries is available online at www.thenewsmarket.com, and from regional and country UNICEF offices.
Videos and stories highlighting UNICEF's continuing effort to help rebuild children’s lives in the tsunami affected countries.
Dan Thomas reports on UNICEF’s efforts over the last 12 months to help children affected by the tsunami.
Children and the Tsunami, A Year On: A Draft UNICEF Summary of What Worked [PDF]