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UNICEF Executive Director to tour flood-damaged areas of Mozambique

Thursday, 17 February 2000: UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy will tour flood-affected areas of Mozambique on Friday, 18 February, getting a first-hand look at UNICEF's response to a disaster that has created urgent humanitarian needs for 150,000 people, including 30,000 children, and which has sparked concern over outbreaks of disease.

Ms. Bellamy will travel by helicopter to the affected areas, and will visit with local officials and residents affected by the country's worst flooding in 50 years. Bellamy is expected to be accompanied by the Health Minister of Mozambique, as well as the country's Director of Disaster Management.

UNICEF is currently pre-positioning supplies of medicine to combat potential outbreaks of cholera and malaria. Contaminated water and an increase in the mosquito population are responsible for the heightened threat of disease.

"Even though the water is receding, in many areas we remain very concerned about the possibility of disease," said UNICEF Representative Mark Stirling in Maputo. "Our approach has been to get the needed drugs in place before outbreaks occur, hopefully giving local communities a chance to stop the problem before it starts."

Earlier today, UNICEF sent 500 kgs of urgently needed medical supplies by helicopter to the isolated town of Chokwe, and will dispatch high-energy biscuits to this area on Friday for the large number of malnourished children who have been without food since the beginning of the week.

A 40-tonne shipment of essential medicines and medical supplies arrived in Maputo on Wednesday, flown in from UNICEF supply centre in Copenhagen. UNICEF is helping the government of Mozambique to strategically position and distribute these supplies, which also include 500,000 sachets of oral rehydration salts.

UNICEF has made an appeal for $1.35 million to fund its emergency relief assistance.

Please email media@unicef.org with comments or requests for more information, quoting CF/DOC/PR/2000/11


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