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Tsunami disaster – countries in crisis

Latin American and Caribbean countries reach out to support tsunami survivors

© UNICEF/2005
MTV Latin America concert to raise funds for tsunami survivors

NEW YORK, 24 January 2005 - Latin American and Caribbean countries are raising funds for children and families who survived last month’s tsunami.

Governments, civil society groups, corporations and individuals are donating funds to provide much-needed emergency relief. Funds raised from Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Guyana, Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela total some $1.5 million to date.

In both Chile and Guyana, the country’s President has taken the lead in the fundraising campaign. In Chile, the government-sponsored campaign has raised a total of 599,199,823 Chilean pesos ($1.73 million) to date. Contributions have come from 25,000 individual donors, private companies (including banks, media companies and others), famous artists, parliamentarians, as well as from the office of the President.

In Brazil, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided information on its official website about how to donate to UNICEF’s tsunami relief efforts, and encouraged its staff to contribute. Some 3,800 donations have been made through UNICEF’s Brazil office to date, the vast majority from individuals.

"UNICEF is deeply grateful for the support this region has shown for children affected by the 26 December tsunami, one of history's worst natural disasters," said Nils Kastberg, UNICEF's Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Highlights of the effort from other countries include:
• Contributions of $300,000 through UNICEF’s Mexico office
• TV spot on TV Globo, Brazil's main TV network
• Donation of $33,000 by UNICEF Argentina’s corporate partner, Empresa Arcor

‘Latin America and the Caribbean has spontaneously risen to the occasion’

In the Latin American region, support from the private sector has been led by companies such as American Express; General Electric and AF Laboratories and Liomont in Mexico; Visa, MasterCard, Redcompra, Magna and Diners Club in Chile; Fundación Arcor in Argentina; Kimberly Clark and CANTV in Venezuela; and Hewlett-Packard, Telefónica and Banco Itaú in Brazil, among others.  MTV and The Cartoon Network are supporting tsunami fundraising efforts via their websites.

Celebrities who are donating and campaigning actively include Puerto Rican singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ricky Martin, who travelled to Thailand to raise awareness and funds for the victims of the catastrophe.

"Thankfully, the global response has also been unprecedented. We are glad to see that Latin America and the Caribbean has spontaneously risen to the occasion, with enormous generosity, in spite of the fact that it, too, is disaster-prone and faces serious poverty and inequality,” said Mr. Kastberg.

All financial contributions go into a special global emergency fund to assist countries affected by the tsunami, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, the Maldives, Myanmar, and Somalia.

The funds that have been collected are addressing immediate and emerging needs in the affected countries, focusing on child survival, family reunification, and getting schools up and running. Vital supplies sent to the region include school materials; medical supplies and oral rehydration salts; toys and sports equipment; shelter supplies such as blankets, tarpaulins, and children’s clothing; and nutritional supplements.

UNICEF is also taking action to protect children and adolescents who are at risk of being trafficked, exploited sexually or adopted illegally.

Fundraising continues in Latin America and the Caribbean to assist the millions of people affected by this unprecedented catastrophe.



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