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Relief update: UNICEF set to deliver more supplies to victims of xenophobic violence

Mail & Guardian/Nicole Johnston
© Mail & Guardian/Nicole Johnston
UNICEF partners have reported that many child victims of the violent attacks have expressed fear of returning to school.

Pretoria, 28 May 2008 – UNICEF today said it plans to deliver more basic emergency supplies urgently needed by women and children affected by recent outbreaks of xenophobic violence in several of South Africa’s informal settlements.  The relief supplies will be distributed through several of its NGO partners working on the ground to provide assistance to the victims.

UNICEF has prepositioned for handover more than 35 early childhood kits, including toys, crayons, paper, etc., that will cater for children aged 0 – 5 years old to help meet the educational and recreational needs of some 1,000 young children affected by the violence. The child development materials will be distributed through a local partner, Active Learning and Leisure Libraries South Africa. 

Help to get fearful children back in school
Meantime, at some sites UNICEF partners have reported that many child victims of the violent attacks have expressed fear of returning to school.  In response, UNCEF is working with the Refugee Children's Project to identify children who are staying away from school and will help them re-enter local schools that are deemed to be safe by the authorities.  

In addition, UNICEF will deliver 1,500 adult hygiene kits that include soap, toilet paper, sanitary napkins, toothpaste.  Some 7,500 baby diapers will also be distributed to mothers through the South African Red Cross.

Child health concerns  
UNICEF has further expressed concern that children will be made vulnerable and possibly succumb to pneumonia due to the prevailing cold and wet winter conditions in the province of Gauteng.   Another concern is the deteriorating water and sanitation conditions at the sites where the displaced are housed.

UNICEF has pledged to do its utmost to help South Africa’s Department of Health and the Disaster Management Center to set up temporary clinics and to help the ensure that living conditions are humane and sanitary for all the displaced persons.

Download the press release [word]  [pdf]

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