More than one third of those affected are childrenMEXICO CITY, 9 November 2007 – UNICEF today said that flooding in the states of Tabasco and Chiapas poses a grave threat to children. The floods, the worst in more than 50 years, have affected more than one million people, trapping thousands of families in their homes and forcing thousands of others out of theirs –with limited access to food, medicine and safe drinking water.
United Nations agencies have traveled to the affected areas to offer emergency humanitarian assistance, working jointly with national and local authorities, international organizations and civil society.
UNICEF experts are also on the ground to identify the most urgent needs of children and provide them with essential services like psychosocial support and education. It is estimated that more than one third of the population of Tabasco are under 18 and that 70 per cent of the schools have been damaged, causing classes to be suspended for 400,000 students. UNICEF is working to ensure that classes resume as soon as possible.
UNICEF will be providing the following services:
• School supplies including school kits and didactic materials
• Domestic supplies for children and women, including basic personal hygiene items, water containers, and cooking and household items
• Support to light rehabilitation of schools, especially those that are not covered by risk insurance
• Psychosocial support, through recreational kits, technical assistance and logistical support for activities related to psychosocial recovery especially for children in temporary shelters.
In addition to Mexico, several countries in Central America and the Caribbean have also been affected by heavy flooding which has submerged entire villages and left many destitute. The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua have witnessed significant damage.
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, +1-212-326-7452, firstname.lastname@example.org