GENEVA, 23 January 2009 – The Government of Japan has stepped up with a donation of $3 million to support UNICEF’s relief work in Gaza following the recent crisis.
Japan is the first government to respond to UNICEF’s call for donations for the beleaguered civilian population of Gaza.
The contribution will provide emergency funding for UNICEF’s health, nutrition, and water and sanitation activities for children and women in Gaza.
“This donation from the Government of Japan will enable UNICEF assistance to affected children and pregnant women in all of the five districts of Gaza”, said Ms. Sigrid Kaag, UNICEF Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa region. “We are very grateful to the Government of Japan for their generous gesture of support”.
The funding will support UNICEF’s activities addressing the immediate needs of severely injured or critically ill children, and will include medicines and nutritional supplements to prevent infections, disabilities and deaths in children and pregnant women. Specifically the funding will provide the following:
· Equipment and supplies for ten neonatal units serving 4,000 at risk newborns and 7,500 pregnant women at high risk;
· Intensive care equipment for 13 hospitals and 24 health centres;
· Essential drugs, equipment and micronutrient supplements to prevent malnutrition among 250,000 children under-five years;
· Treatment of 1,200 severely malnourished children in therapeutic centres;
· Safe drinking water for over 42,000 affected people, and water desalination units for 282 schools - 25,000 children per day;
· Five generators for five major hospitals in each district;
· Strengthening of surveillance systems in 13 hospitals and 56 clinics;
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 412 children and 110 women were killed and 1,855 children and 795 women were injured in Gaza as a result of the recent violence. The non-governmental organization Handicap International has estimated that up to 50 per cent of the injured have sustained severe injuries that will require rehabilitation to prevent permanent disability.
Children form over half of Gaza’s population of nearly 1.5 million. They are among the most vulnerable to the effects of conflict and are the first to be psychologically distressed, exposed to injuries and the most in need of medical support. Prior to the crisis, children and women in Gaza faced an 18-month long blockade, which led to a destruction of livelihoods and a significant deterioration of infrastructure and basic services.
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:
Kate Donovan, UNICEF New York, tel: + 1 212 326 7452 firstname.lastname@example.org
Veronique Taveau, UNICEF Geneva, Tel: 41 22 909 5716 e-mail : email@example.com