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Tsunami disaster – countries in crisis

Relief supplies reach Somalia’s children

MOGADISHU, Somalia, 30 December 2004 – As countries in South Asia are dealing with the devastation caused by the surging tidal waves, Somalia - a coastal nation in Africa - is also suffering from the effects of the disaster.

Somalia is located 2,800 miles across the Indian Ocean from the epicentre of the earthquake. It is Africa's hardest-hit nation. At least 62 people are dead and many others are still missing, most of them fishermen. Hundreds of families have been left without clean drinking water, shelter or adequate food supplies.

UNICEF and the local administration have sent an assessment team to the affected areas. In the town of Hafun, about 80 per cent of the homes have been severely damaged, affecting over 500 families. All water and sanitation infrastructure within the town have also been destroyed.

“We need to set up the sanitation facilities as soon as possible for the displaced people. Water, nutrition are the top priorities, then we will also see if we can bring education back to the children to help them get back to normalcy,” says UNICEF Senior Programme Officer, Siddharth Chatterjee.

In addition, UNICEF staff has observed cases of waterborne disease.

“Knowing that Somalia has a history of cholera, we want to make sure that there is also a massive campaign against cholera under taken,” says Chatterjee.

The damage along the country's 621-mile coastline is difficult to assess because Somalia has been wracked by years of civil war and tribal fighting.

UNICEF is in the process of delivering relief supplies - including oral rehydration salts, chlorine powder and essential drugs – to the children and adults in the most affected areas.




30 December 2004:
UNICEF Senior Programme Officer Siddharth Chatterjee on the situation in Somalia.

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