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UNICEF relief efforts continue in Bihar, India, as estimates of flood affected rise to over 3 million

NEW YORK, 4 September 2008 - With the number of people affected by the flooding in the Bihar state of India now estimated at three million, UNICEF continues its relief operation in what it describes as a "grim humanitarian situation". Tens of thousands of people, including many children, may still be stranded in remote areas, says the children's agency. These populations are in most urgent need of relief supplies such as clean water, food, medicines and shelter. Many are staying in the open on highlands along the river tributaries or road sides.

According to UNICEF staff on the ground, the relief and rehabilitation operation in Bihar could be needed for several months. Many families have moved more than once to escape the rising waters and are living in increasingly desperate conditions. The agency is especially concerned about the well-being of children affected by the floods and is working with the government of India to reach all those in need of rescue and relief.

The displacement of people has been massive as people continue to flee or are evacuated from marooned areas. Many have settled in relief camps, but some of these have also been flooded.

The UNICEF response concentrates on delivering life-saving supplies such as clean water, medicines and shelter equipment. Much of these supplies were pre-positioned before the floods struck Bihar. In addition, UNICEF priorities are in the areas of nutrition, immunization, education, water and sanitation, and education.

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:

Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York, +212 326 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org
Veronique Taveau, UNICEF Geneva, +41 22 909 5716, vtaveau@unicef.org





3 September 2008:
UNICEF correspondent Elizabeth Kiem reports on the situation of displaced flood victims in Bihar.
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