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UNICEF to provide support to nearly one million children affected by earthquake in Chile

Second powerful quake hits Chile today

SANTIAGO, 11 March 2010 - UNICEF will provide assistance to the estimated one million children and their families affected by the earthquake in Chile which struck on 27 February. It is unclear how much more damage the second quake today has caused, but the first quake followed by a tsunami caused widespread damage and over 500 deaths. Six regions, home to some 80 per cent of the population of Chile were affected by the quake. The government had declared these regions as "catastrophe zones".

The worst affected areas are some of the poorest in the country. Roads have been cut off, and entire villages in the coastal zones were wiped out by the Tsunami. Government buildings, schools, health facilities and at least 500,000 homes have been destroyed or badly damaged.

"As in any disaster, children are the ones suffering most. They are particularly vulnerable to cold, hunger and outbreaks of disease. Their lives have been brutally disrupted and many of them will have difficulty coping with such an upheaval. We must help them now," said Gary Stahl, UNICEF Representative in Chile.

UNICEF is asking for $3.5 million to meet the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women throughout the affected areas. Assistance will include psychosocial support, emergency education and water and sanitation. UNICEF is working closely with the new government of Chile which was sworn in today.

For more information, please contact:
Francisca Palma Communication Officer- UNICEF Chile,
Tel + 00 56 2 422 8840

Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Media,
Tel + 1 212 326 7426,




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