NEW YORK/GENEVA/BEIRUT, 24 July 2006 – UNICEF today launched an appeal for $ 23.8 million to support children caught in the crisis in Lebanon and Syria. The appeal is part of the overall UN flash appeal for nearly $150 million.
“Many of those who have been uprooted in the violence are children,” said Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director. “They may have witnessed the death or injury of loved ones and many are suffering acute distress. Around 700,000 people have been displaced inside Lebanon. It is estimated that 110,000 are now living in schools, public buildings and parks and that more than 150,000 people have crossed the border into Syria. Children face the immediate danger of disease and will be impacted by the loss of hospitals, health clinics and schools.”
UNICEF will work with its UN partners, the Red Cross, Red Crescent and others to provide rapid support for displaced or refugee children and families who are in urgent need of medical care, clean water and proper sanitation as well as help to deal with traumatic events.
UNICEF has already provided $1.2 million for medical supplies and other immediate assistance. The first charter flight left Copenhagen on Saturday 22 July for the region carrying 38 tonnes of supplies, including 168 water kits with enough soap, buckets, water purification tablets and water containers for nearly 1,700 families. The plane also carried oral rehydration salts to treat the symptoms of diarrhoea, essential drugs and recreation kits for children containing sport equipment such as skipping ropes, footballs, volleyballs and nets and basketballs.
A second plane left from Luxembourg for the region on Sunday, 23 July, carrying more water kits, 800 boxes of paracetamol and additional recreation kits.
The UNICEF Country Office in Lebanon has already purchased locally available medical supplies, water tanks, soap sanitation equipment and toys for displaced children.
Over the next three months, UNICEF and its partners in Lebanon and Syria will:
• Provide clean water and sanitation facilities in schools;
• Provide emergency health kits with essential medicines for health centres and for the displaced;
• Monitor and support children who have experienced traumatic events;
• Prevent the separation of children from their families and re-unite families that have been separated;
• Provide recreation kits for distribution in 50 schools.
The UNICEF appeal includes urgent requirements for logistics, security equipment and regional support, given the difficult situation in the sub-region. It replaces UNICEF’s initial call for $7.3 million.
For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 155 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:
Jehane Sedky-Lavandero, UNICEF New York: (+1 212) 326 7261; email@example.com
M. Anis Salem, UNICEF Amman: (+962) 79 557 9991 email; firstname.lastname@example.org
Wolfgang Friedl, UNICEF Amman: (+962) 6 553 9977 ext 422; email@example.com
Soha Boustani, UNICEF Beirut (+961) 1 978 620; firstname.lastname@example.org
Wivina Belmonte, UNICEF Geneva: (+41 22) 909 5712; email@example.com
24 July 2006: UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Thomas McDermott, describes the crisis in Lebanon.
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