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UNICEF flying in emergency supplies to Myanmar

Thai Airways transporting in first of four shipments over the next three days

NEW YORK, May 9, 2008 - A Thai Airways plane carrying UNICEF emergency supplies landed in Yangon today, carrying three million water purification tablets. Three more planeloads containing medicines, emergency health kits and special food for malnourished children, are planned over the next three days.

“The urgency facing Myanmar is so great  -- every second can make a difference in the life of a Myanmar child,” said Juanita Vasquez, Acting Representative of UNICEF Myanmar.   “Let’s increase our support to improve the lives of children affected by Cyclone Nargis.”

An estimated 1.5 million people have been affected by Cyclone Nargis and one of their most pressing needs is potable water. The tablets that have now arrived can purify five million litres of contaminated water, enough for the needs of 200,000 people for one week. With many roads still blocked by debris and fallen trees, distributing purification tablets is quicker and more practical than attempting to distribute large quantities of potable water.

UNICEF is very concerned about the impact of bad water on the health of children living in extremely precarious situations. Lack of access to clean water and poor sanitation, inadequate shelter and poor nutrition pose additional risks to children who are already vulnerable to disease and hunger.

According to the UNICEF health specialist in Myanmar, 20 per cent of children in the worst affected areas already have diarrhoea and cases of malaria have also been reported. To counter more outbreaks of communicable and water-borne diseases, UNICEF has distributed 15,000 hygiene kits and has plans to distribute another 20,000, as well as to construct large numbers of portable toilets in camps set up to house people who have lost their homes.

UNICEF has appealed for $25.57 million over the next six months to ramp up critical services of water, sanitation and hygiene; child protection; education and telecommunications services.

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 more information, please contact: 

Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York tel: +1 212 326 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org
Miriam Azar, UNICEF New York, tel: +1 212 824 6949, miazar@unicef.org
Kate Donovan, UNICEF New York, tel:  + 1 212 326 7452 kdonovan@unicef.org
Véronique Taveau, UNICEF Geneva, tel: +41 22 909 5716, vtaveau@unicef.org
Miranda Eeles, UNICEF Geneva, tel: +41 22 909 5715, meeles@unicef.org


 

 

 

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