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UNICEF: Nearly 700,000 children still in need of assistance in Myanmar

YANGON, GENEVA, 25 July 2008 - Close to three months after Cyclone Nargis slammed into Myanmar, nearly 700,000 children under the age of 17 are still in need of longer term assistance, says UNICEF.  An estimated 2.4 million people were affected by the cyclone which destroyed or damaged hundreds of thousands of homes, schools and health centres.

“While we have seen a gradual improvement in the situation of children and have managed to avoid major disease outbreaks, we need to sustain our efforts so children and their families can make a complete recovery from the devastation wreaked by Cyclone Nargis,” said Ramesh Shrestha UNICEF Representative in Myanmar. 

UNICEF’s emergency operation in Myanmar has concentrated on immunization, education and reuniting separated children with their families. It has distributed education supplies such as “schools-in-a-box”, essential learning packages and recreational kits to children in the affected areas and set up temporary learning spaces when schools have been completely destroyed. UNICEF has so far registered 616 separated children and has set up a family tracing and interim community care system.

A recent UN/ASEAN report revealed the immense damage inflicted by Cyclone Nargis.  Major findings include 700,000 homes, 75 per cent of health facilities, over 4,000 schools damaged or destroyed in the affected areas. In addition,  the cyclone struck a severe blow to people’s livelihoods by flooding 600,000 hectares of agricultural land, killing up to 50 per cent of livestock in the affected areas, and destroying fishing boats, food stocks and agricultural implements. According to the report, the damages and losses amount to $4 billion.

In a recent appeal, UNICEF requested $90.7 million for its humanitarian operation until April 2009.


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:

Zafrin Chowdhury, UNICEF Myanmar, Tel: +95-1-375527-32, ext 1443, zchowdhury@unicef.org
Shantha Bloemen, UNICEF Thailand Tel: +66-2-356-9407, sbloemen@unicef.org
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York Tel: +1 212 326 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org
Véronique Taveau, UNICEF Geneva, tel: +41 22 909 5716, vtaveau@unicef.org
Miranda Eeles, UNICEF Geneva, tel: +41 22 909 5715, meeles@unicef.org




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