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UNICEF responds to immediate needs of children affected by the floods in Tabasco and Chiapas

Two teams of experts sent to affected areas in Mexico

MEXICO CITY, 9 November 2007- UNICEF has deployed two missions to assess the needs of children in the aftermath of the floods that have hit the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas.

The move is part of the United Nations efforts to support Mexico’s response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the recent flooding.

The two UNICEF teams are identifying the most urgent needs of children, and will start immediate action to provide children with essential services like psychosocial support and protection. 

They are also evaluating the current situation of schools to ensure that classes resume as promptly as possible.

In Tabasco , the floods have affected some 220,000 persons a state of emergency was declared across the 17 municipalities of the Mexican southeastern state. Nearly 2,500 schools were affected. Classes are ongoing in 16 out of the 17 municipalities, but the situation remains critical in the “Centro” municipality, where 816 schools are severely damaged, and 103 are being used as shelters.

In 74 schools used as temporary shelters, teachers have resumed classes, allowing more than 7,600 children to continue with school activities.

Infrastructure damage can not yet be evaluated with precision because the majority of the schools affected are under water.

In Chiapas , 25,700 persons have been affected by the floods. Almost 40 per cent of the municipalities have been affected, and 94 schools have suffered damage, depriving at least 5,000 students from education.

In both regions, UNICEF will be providing the following services:

·     School supplies including school kits and teaching materials

·     Domestic supplies for children and women, including basic personal hygiene items, water containers, and cooking and household items

·     Support for rehabilitation of schools

·     Psychosocial support, through recreational kits, technical assistance and logistical support for activities related to psychosocial recovery especially for children in temporary shelters.

In addition to Mexico, several countries in Central America and the Caribbean have also been affected by heavy flooding which has submerged entire villages and left many destitute. The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua have witnessed significant damage.

According to initial estimates, UNICEF will need US $3,260,000 to contribute to meeting the urgent needs of women and children throughout the affected countries.

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 further information, please contact:
Kate Donovan, UNICEF New York, +1-212-326-7452, kdonovan@unicef.org 
Mónica Sayrols, UNICEF Mexico, +52-55-284-9556, msayrols@unicef.org





9 November 2007: UNICEF Representative in Mexico Susanna Sottoli discusses efforts to help children affected by flooding in Tabasco and Chiapas. 
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