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Tsunami disaster – countries in crisis

Keeping India’s tsunami survivors healthy

© UNICEF India/2005/Nybo
A UNICEF team surveys the health of children who survived the tsunami in Nagapattinam, India.

NAGAPATTINAM, India, 31 January 2005 - For tsunami survivors along the coast of India, the path to recovery is slow and fraught with obstacles. In Nagapattinam, tens of thousands of people are still living in temporary relief centres.

UNICEF is working to keep the survivors healthy through providing shelter, food and safe drinking water. UNICEF is also helping conduct an extensive health survey aimed at identifying any emerging or existing problems with the health of children who survived the tsunami. The height and weight of the children is measured, and they are inspected for signs of malnourishment or disease.

Dr. Jagannathan Ashokan is working closely with the UNICEF team. He says, "So many people are affected by injuries and so many children have lost their parents, and they are very much in need of food, shelter and it's very important for the psychological state of the children."

 One of UNICEF's top goals in the wake of the tsunami is to focus on keeping children alive, with an emphasis on clean water, adequate sanitation, basic nutrition and routine medical care. To prevent waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery - all caused by drinking contaminated water - UNICEF has set up water tanks, providing safe drinking water for the survivors.

UNICEF is working closely with the government to provide the necessary support. Tim Schaffter of UNICEF India says, "We actually recommended to the government that the food rations for children be doubled and the government was very responsive and very concerned. But we need to monitor over time, again, to know when we can move back to our normal support as opposed to our accelerated support."






31 January 2005: UNICEF’s Thomas Nybo reports from India on the health of child tsunami survivors.

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