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UNICEF provides humanitarian assistance to children affected by the earthquake in Lorestan

TEHRAN, 3 April 2006, 18:12 PM: UNICEF Iran is sending around 10,000 blankets and 300 tents to Lorestan province to provide immediate relief to children and families affected by the recent earthquakes. The first batch of supplies, including the tents and at least 2,000 blankets, is expected to arrive in the city of Boroujerd tonight and will be distributed immediately, with the remainder to follow shortly thereafter.

These supplies will provide much needed support to the 10,000 families — including many children — who have been rendered homeless in the disaster. Many families are too afraid to return to their damaged homes and are instead choosing to camp in the open air, despite rainy and cold conditions.

“Children have already spent several nights in the cold and this increases their risk for respiratory infections,” said UNICEF Representative Christian Salazar Volkmann, who will arrive in Boroujerd later today. “UNICEF has immediately mobilized $100,000 to ensure the survival and health of these children, who are among the most vulnerable during a crisis.” The supplies being provided will add to the immediate response of the Government and the Iranian Red Crescent who reacted quickly by distributing tents, blankets, food items and other equipment.

Most schools in the area have been destroyed or badly damaged and local officials report that they will remain closed until further notice. UNICEF will send an expert team within the next two days to assess the educational needs and psychological situation of children. Based on the results of this assessment, further resources will be mobilized to support the authorities with temporary educational facilities, supplies and toys.

In addition, UNICEF and the State Welfare Organization of Iran have agreed to establish rural child care centres in affected villages. Both these measures will provide safe places for children to play and learn during the reconstruction process and will assist them in overcoming the psychological stress and trauma caused by the earthquake.



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