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UNICEF appeals for nearly $30 million to support the needs of children and women affected by Cyclone Sidr

Some 2.5 million affected are children

DHAKA, 28 November 2007 - UNICEF is appealing for $29.2 million to support the needs of children and women affected by Cyclone Sidr. The cyclone hit Bangladesh on 15 November affecting 5 million people in 30 districts. More than 3,000 deaths have been confirmed to date and a large number of people are missing on the islands and in coastal areas.

Approximately half of the affected people are children and an estimated 600,000 of them are under five years of age.

Shelter, food, water and sanitation are the most urgent needs, and 2.8 million people will require long term support to recover from the devastation of the cyclone. UNICEF's emergency operation will be focused on these four areas in addition to assistance for education and child protection (children who have lost their homes and are now displaced).

An immediate concern is to re-establish access to safe water supplies and sanitation facilities. Traditionally, ponds are a major source of water in the coastal areas but most of these are now polluted with debris and salt water.  There will be a need to provide emergency water supplies for the next six months, until the rains arrive.

An estimated 523,000 people in the cyclone-affected districts are in need of medicine and medical services. UNICEF and WHO are supplying essential drugs and looking into how much damage the cold chain for safe delivery of vaccines may have suffered. A vaccination campaign is essential to prevent outbreaks of measles and a re-emergence of polio.

With the cold weather approaching, vulnerability to cold, hunger, diarrhea and communicable diseases will increase unless the right assistance reaches affected populations.

The scarcity of food, safe drinking water and the destruction of crops and livestock is likely to have an impact on the already severe malnutrition situation in Bangladesh. UNICEF is distributing high energy biscuits and other food items to children and women.

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:

Zafrin Chowdhury, UNICEF Bangladesh, +88 01713049469, zchowdhury@unicef.org
Katey Grusovin, UNICEF South Asia, +91 9810530715 kgrusovin@unicef.org
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York, + 1 212 326 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org
Miranda Eeles, UNICEF Geneva. +41 22 909 5715, meeles@unicef.org





21 November 2007:
UNICEF correspondent Elizabeth Kiem reports on the visit by a UN Joint mission to cyclone-affected districts in Bangladesh.
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19 November 2007:
UNICEF correspondent Anwulika Okafor reports on the aftermath of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh.
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