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UNICEF provides US$1 million in emergency supplies to Zambia

LUSAKA, 22 February 2008 – UNICEF will provide more than US$1 million in emergency assistance including tents, school supplies, and basic household items to approximately 70,000 Zambians whose homes have been washed away during recent floods.

This is the second consecutive year that Zambia has suffered looses due to flooding, resulting in a growing food insecurity crisis. An estimated 45 per cent of this year’s crop harvest in the Southern Province is lost.

“Although the Government of Zambia has authorized the United Nations to officially work on the emergency last week, UNICEF was already responding to the emergency by helping plan a coordinated response and pre-positioning relief supplies,” said UNICEF Zambia Representative Lotta Sylwander. “UNICEF is ensuring that latrines are limed and shallow wells buried to avoid cholera outbreaks in badly affected areas. Chlorine is also being distributed.”

Through partnerships with the Lusaka City Council (LCC) and the Ministry of Health, UNICEF has continued to promote improved hygiene practices in George, Chunga, Ngombe, and Chipata compounds in Lusaka Province. UNICEF has already sent supplies to affected areas, including water purification tablets, diesel centrifugal pumps, basic family water kits, collapsible water tanks, soap, lime, household chlorine, and continues to support drainage clearing. 

“As floodwaters recede, the risk of disease outbreaks – diarrhea, cholera, and malaria -- are severe, especially from stagnant water sources and contaminated wells,” said Claudia Hudspeth, UNICEF’s Emergency Coordinator. “Urgent action is crucial to prevent outbreaks of diseases, which are of great concern at the onset of a crisis, especially among children.”

Two severely affected provinces, Lusaka and Southern, suffer some of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the country, 22 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively. An urgent need exists to ensure HIV prevention messages, anti-retroviral therapy, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV services continues to be available.

“More help is on the way including a two-month supply of therapeutic milk for nearly 600 severely malnourished children supplied by UNICEF’s country office in neighboring Malawi. In coming days, 5,000 non-food item (NFI) kits will be flown into Zambia from UNICEF’s Supply Division in Kenya. Each kit provides a family with a jerry can (10 litres water capacity), two cooking pots, a cooking spoon and kitchen knife, plates, utensils, a bucket,  a bag that can hold up to 50 kilograms of materials, and a kanga (traditional cloth that mothers use to carry children).” stated UNICEF Zambia Representative Lotta Sylwander. 

“These materials will make a critical difference especially for Zambians seeking shelter in temporary camps. The kits cost less than US$25 each and they are urgently needed. I hope UNICEF’s donors both within Zambia and around the world can help us do even more,” added Sylwander.

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.

For further information, please contact:

Patrick Slavin, Chief, Communications, UNICEF Zambia; Tel +260-211-252055, pslavin@unicef.org,
Betty C. Nalungwe, Senior Communications Assistant, UNICEF Zambia; Tel +260-211--252055 bcnalungwe@unicef.org
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York, Tel +212 326 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org
Veronique Taveau, UNICEF Geneva, Tel +41 22 909 5716, vtaveau@unicef.org


 

 

 

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