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UNICEF rushes vaccines to displaced children from South Ossetia

TBILISI, GEORGIA, 24 August, 2004 –  One week after crisis broke out in South Ossetia, approximately 1,600 displaced children are being immunised against measles, mumps and rubella as UNICEF and the Georgian Ministry of Health rush vaccines to the areas where the children have been evacuated. The immunisation days are being conducted by local health authorities over four days, 24-27 August, to reach displaced children between the age of one and 15.

“It is absolutely essential to immunize children against measles to avoid any possible outbreak of epidemics during an emergency situation, given the high number of children concentrated in one place,” said Ingrid Kolb-Hindarmanto, UNICEF Programme Coordinator in Georgia.

UNICEF is also providing 1,300 Vitamin A capsules for displaced children to strengthen their ability to shake off disease and illness, as well as essential drugs and hygiene supplies such as soap and shampoo for up to 2,700 displaced women and children. Moreover, UNICEF is also providing syringes and vaccine containers and child health cards to ensure that every vaccination is properly recorded.

Last week, UNICEF sent 35 school kits and 10 football kits, as well as information materials for parents and social workers to local authorities for distribution to the 970 displaced people housed in nine sanatoriums and hotels in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region (Southern Georgia). Another 55 school kits, together with sport and recreation equipment, will be distributed to local authorities in the other four regions hosting displaced women and children in the coming days.  School materials and sport and recreation equipment are essential to help children overcome the stress and trauma of the bombing of their villages in South Ossetia, helping to create a sense of stability.

As of 24 August, there are 2,700 displaced women and children from South Ossetia relocated to various hotels and sanatoriums in six regions of Georgia. Women and children were evacuated during an outbreak of fighting between Georgian troops and separatist forces a week ago.


For further information, and photos please contact:
Maya Kurtsikidze, Communications Officer, UNICEF Georgia
Tel: ++ 995) 32- 23 23 88, 25 11 30, Fax: 25 12 36
e-mail: mkurtsikidze@unicef.org, mob: 899 53 30 71

Angela Hawke, Communication Officer,
UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS and Baltics
Tel: (++ 4122) 909 5433
e-mail: ahawke@unicef.org, mob: (++ 4179) 601 9917




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