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UNICEF highlights toll on children from Asian floods

NEW YORK, 11 JULY 2007 - UNICEF today highlighted the immense toll placed on the millions of children in South and East Asia who have been impacted by flooding caused by the monsoon season and cyclones. In Pakistan, India, Myanmar and Afghanistan, flooding is exacerbating conditions for already vulnerable children.

In Pakistan, an estimated 2 million people have been affected, as of Monday, by flooding following four days of heavy rains in the wake of cyclone Yemyin on 23 June. Three out of four people affected are children and women, and at least 300,000 of affected children are under 5 years old. Accessibility remains a concern, with many areas still cut off by rising water, and many water distribution systems have been totally or partially destroyed, leading to poor hygiene and unsanitary conditions that are causing waterborne diseases, dehydration and infection. With hospitals and health clinics closed or only partially functioning, humanitarian aid is desperately needed. The worst hit areas in Balochistan and Sindh are among Pakistan's most disadvantaged, making children and women there especially vulnerable to natural disasters. UNICEF is coordinating with government, UN agencies and other partners on assessments, with a particular focus on the needs of children. UNICEF has issued an "Immediate Needs" document requesting $5 million for the response through October 2007.


Emergency UNICEF supplies have arrived in Thandwe township in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the western coastal state bordering Bangladesh which was hit by torrential rains at the start of July. Flooding has also been reported in Ayeyarwaddy, Bago and Tanintharyi Divisions on the central and southern coasts. Flood waters have destroyed houses, covered the floors of hospitals, health posts and schools with mud, contaminated hundreds of drinking wells with mud and blocked latrines. UNICEF has been able to distribute essential drugs, oral-rehydration salts, water purification tablets and family kits, in part because of efforts to preposition supplies following the tsunami. UNICEF staff who were in Rakhine State to help monitor the third phase of the polio vaccination campaign are now helping conduct a rapid assessment to assess the further needs of the flood-affected communities.

Heavy monsoon rains have preceded flash floods in parts of West Bengal, Orissa and Rajasthan, India. UNICEF has received requests for assistance from the governments of West Bengal and Orissa and has health, water and sanitation, and nutrition supplies prepositioned to respond. Additional supplies for shelter and health are being arranged. Some prepositioned supplies were used in the last few days in Chattisgarth and Orissa to provide immediate relief.

In Afghanistan, flooding in late June caused the deaths of over 100 people and the displacement of thousands. UNICEF response included the distribution of emergency health kits, oral rehydration salts, water purification tablets and water bladders. UNICEF has prepositioned supplies for over 5,000 families and will release additional supplies upon request.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:

Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Media New York, 212 326 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org
Veronique Taveau, UNICEF Media Geneva, Tel: +41 22 909 5716, vtaveau@unicef.org
Rafael Hermoso, UNICEF Media New York, 212 326 7516, rhermoso@unicef.org





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