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Media advisory

Bellamy to visit Tsunami zone

Trip to Sri Lanka and Indonesia Starts Sunday; Will Tour Worst-Affected Areas

NEW YORK, 1 January 2005 – UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy begins a five-day tour of the worst-affected tsunami zones this weekend, where she will survey the needs of hundreds of thousands of children and assess the UNICEF relief efforts to date.

Bellamy will meet with children, their families, community leaders, NGOs, and senior government officials.  She will also meet with other UN officials. 

“For our relief efforts to be the best they can be I feel I have to see what’s really happening on the ground,” Bellamy said.  “I want all the people who have suffered so much, and all those who are working so hard on the relief effort to know that UNICEF considers this an urgent priority.”

Bellamy arrives in Sri Lanka on Sunday morning and will tour southern portions of the country by chopper and by foot.  On Monday she will travel to the north of the island, and later that evening in Colombo she will hold a press conference.

She will fly overnight on Monday to Jakarta, arriving Tuesday morning.  During her three-day stay in Indonesia she will meet with government officials and travel to Aceh, on the far north of the island of Sumatra, to tour the vicinity of Banda Aceh – by far the most devastated zone in the entire region. 

Throughout her travel Ms. Bellamy will be available for phone and satellite interviews to discuss the state of the relief effort and the situation of children.

* * *

UNICEF has offices in all the countries affected by the quake and tsunami, enabling a swift and knowledgeable response to the disaster.  The agency continues to deliver vital relief supplies in all the hard-hit areas and is working with governments to help coordinate relief in the areas of water & sanitation, the tracing and protection of children, and eventually in reopening schools.  UNICEF’s most immediate efforts are aimed at saving children’s lives. 

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary contributions and expects to spend more than $50 million throughout the tsunami zone to save lives and help communities rebuild.

For interviews and other details from the ground, contact UNICEF press officers:

In Sri Lanka: Martin Dawes + 977 985 10 40961
In the Maldives: Binita Shah + 977 985 107 4260
In India: Michael Galway + 91 981 86 49088
In Indonesia: John Budd + 62 811 936 437
In Bangkok: Shantha Bloemen + 66 1 906 0813
In Geneva: Damien Personnaz + 41 22 909 5716
At NY Headquarters: Simon Ingram + 1 212 326 7426





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