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Comoros, 3 May 2012: UNICEF responds to the flood emergency

© UNICEF Comoros/2012/Samira
UNICEF staff, together with staff from other UN agencies amd the Comorian Red Crescent, assess the damage and need of children and families following the floods.

MORONI, Comoros, 3 May 2012 - UNICEF, together with partners, is responding to the urgent needs of children and families affected by one of the worst torrential rains the island nation has seen in recent years.

Immunization drives are now underway; hygiene kits, including water purification tablets have also been distributed. The agency will soon start dispatching its pre-positioned textbooks and other educational materials, and is advocating for protection of children separated from their families amid the havoc.

A rapid assessment, carried out by the Government, together with the UN agencies and the Comorian Red Crescent, showed that nearly 10,000 households, including more than 8000 children have been affected by the heavy floods and the landslides they have caused. Some 10,000 people have been displaced, and are now seeking refuge in various relocation centers.

© UNICEF Comoros/2012/Samira
A child tries to lift a piece of rubble in the aftermath of the recent floods and landslides in Comoros.

Preventing waterborne diseases and the resurgence of malaria is one of the top priorities in the emergency response. To date, UNICEF has distributed 2700 hygiene kits, including water purification tablets to families coping in the aftermath.

Through immunization sessions, children are now being protected from preventable diseases. They are also given vitamin A supplements to boost their immune systems.

Because of the destruction, many schools have been forced to shut down, and learning materials, school furniture damaged. UNICEF has pre-positioned nearly 1,500 books and other materials, which will soon be dispatched ensure continuity of education for children.

In the area of child protection, UNICEF is now working with the Government’s Civil Protection Unit to identify displaced children who are also separated from their families.

A list of displaced persons, including 62 children has been established as the first step.

Against many challenges, such as lack of access and weak partner capacity, UNICEF is prepared to scale up its emergency response in the coming days to provide more WASH, immunization, education and protection services to children in the affected areas.



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