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UNICEF launches $144.5 million appeal

NEW YORK, 6 January 2005 - UNICEF is seeking $144.5 million to support urgent humanitarian aid for the estimated 1.5 million affected children in South Asia, many of which have been orphaned or separated from their families and are in critical need of basic care and support. UNICEF has estimated that children account for more than one-third of tsunami deaths. UN Consolidated Flash Appeal [pdf]

The flash appeal, part of a larger UN appeal issued Thursday in Jakarta, will address immediate and emerging needs, and will include:

  • Emergency immunization to prevent fatal childhood diseases
  • Supply of clean, safe water and provision of basic sanitation
  • Special feeding for malnourished children and pregnant women
  • Care for traumatized children
  • Protection for orphans and separated children
  • Provision of education kits, rehabilitation of schools to ensure return of children to school as soon as possible.

The overriding health needs for the tsunami-affected region will be directed at the prevention and treatment of malaria, water-borne diseases (cholera, dysentery, diarrhoea), measles, tetanus, and acute respiratory diseases. UNICEF will provide basic drugs and supplies to cover over three million people including the 1.5 million children in the region.

Water-borne diseases are common in natural disasters and are a major risk in this situation where tsunamis have contaminated water sources with debris and faecal contaminants throughout the region. Prevention will come from immediate distribution of educational materials advocating for hand-washing and various forms of water-purification; appropriate use of water (even seawater) for washing and hygiene, versus clean water for drinking and cooking.

The primary nutritional threat to the estimated 1.5 million affected children displaced from homes and in an environment where the basic infrastructure of food purchase and delivery has been interrupted will be acute malnutrition, both protein-calorie as well as vitamins and minerals. UNICEF will help set up targeted supplementary feeding centres and provide fortified blended food to malnourished under-fives children, pregnant and lactating women among the displaced population.

Furthermore, the simple process of attending school is a key step in returning a sense of normalcy to the lives of children affected by emergencies. UNICEF recognizes that getting children back to school as soon as possible after disasters is instrumental in helping them recover from trauma and shock. In the immediate short term, the provision of education kits, or ‘school-in-a-box’ allows for children to be accommodated in a temporary classroom setting.

As a non-profit humanitarian agency funded entirely by voluntary contributions, UNICEF said that it has a responsibility to provide as much support to the children of South Asia as possible.


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

In Sri Lanka: Martin Dawes  cell: + 977 985 10 40961,
                      office: 94 11 2555270 x 250, GMT +6 hrs
In The Maldives: Binita Shah + 960 784 196, GMT +5 hrs
In India: Corrine Woods + 91 981 86 49088, GMT +5:30 hrs
In Indonesia: John Budd + 62 811 936 437, GMT +7 hrs
In Bangkok: Shantha Bloemen + 66 1 906 0813, GMT +7 hrs
In Geneva: Soraya Bermejo +41 22  909 5706, GMT +1 hr
In Copenhagen:  Sandie Blanchet + 45 35 27 32 07, GMT +1 hr
NY Headquarters: Simon Ingram, + 1 212 326 -7426, GMT -5 hrs




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