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UNICEF teams reach remote areas - Myanmar situation dire for children

GENEVA, 16 May 2008 – UNICEF missions throughout the flooded regions of Myanmar report that the destruction of homes, schools and water and sanitation systems are posing terrible threats to children’s lives and well-being.

In the 14th day after the cyclone struck, UNICEF warns that children who survived the cyclone are now at increasing risk of disease and of the consequences of cyclone not receiving timely assistance.  Thousands of children are in temporary shelters under frequent rainstorms, particularly in the Yangon region.

More than 70 UNICEF assessment and relief missions are in the regions, distributing essential survival kits, including plastic sheeting for shelter, water purification materials, medicines and mosquito nets, and cooking materials. 

Current United Nations estimates put the total number of severely affected people at up to 2.5 million. UNICEF teams report that in the areas they have visited some 40 per cent of those severely affected are children. If the patterns UNICEF staff are seeing in the devastated areas are representative, there may be as many as one million children in need of urgent assistance.

A flight due to land tomorrow -- UNICEF’s fourth –will carry several tonnes of therapeutic food for malnourished children.  Thirty-four trucks, small enough to travel safely over the damaged roads and bridges, have been dispatched throughout the Yangon and Irawaddy districts. 

UNICEF has also arranged radio broadcasts to help reunite separated children with their parents or close family members. Child-friendly spaces have been set up in several locations, where children can receive education, psychosocial support and health/nutrition services.

UNICEF is working in close collaboration with the Myanmar Red Cross and other partners.

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 New York tel: +1 212 326 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org
Miriam Azar, UNICEF New York, tel: +1 212 824 6949, miazar@unicef.org
Kate Donovan, UNICEF New York, tel:  + 1 212 326 7452 kdonovan@unicef.org
Véronique Taveau, UNICEF Geneva, tel: +41 22 909 5716, vtaveau@unicef.org
Note to Broadcasters: Download free broadcast-quality UNICEF news video and PSAs with celebrities at: http://www.thenewsmarket.com/unicef





20 May 2008:
UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles reports on a campaign to protect children against measles in Laputta Township, one of the places hardest-hit by Cyclone Nargis.   VIDEO  high | low  

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from The Newsmarket


15 May 2008:
UNICEF Representative in Myanmar Ramesh Shrestha gives an overview of the Cyclone Nargis relief effort.
AUDIO listen

UNICEF Myanmar Chief of Child Protection Anne-Claire Dufay talks about helping children cope with life after the cyclone.

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