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Trip by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi of Japan Will Encompass Three Humanitarian Hot Spots

NEW YORK, 19 July 2001 - UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, Japanese celebrity and outspoken advocate for children, will visit Afghanistan from 21 to 26 July to urge a greater global response to the urgent needs of Afghan women and children.

Ms. Kuroyanagi will travel to two parts of Afghanistan where UNICEF has been especially active: in Herat, she will visit the Maslakh camp for internally displaced persons, while in Faizabad, Ms. Kuroyanagi will tour health facilities and schools.

The mission, which begins in Islamabad today, will also include a visit to Afghan refugees in camps near Peshawar, Pakistan.

Afghan children and women have been particularly vulnerable to the impact of a prolonged armed conflict and the worst drought in decades. The country has the world's second highest rate of maternal mortality (nearly 1,700 for every 100,000 live births), while some 20% of child deaths are due to diseases that are preventable by vaccines.

Ms. Kuroyanagi became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1984. Her high-profile visits to such places as Rwanda, Iraq, Haiti, and Kosovo have raised more than $26 million for children, more than any other UNICEF celebrity advocate. Last October, she received UNICEF's first-ever Leadership Award for Children, recognizing her unsurpassed record on behalf of children.

Ms. Kuroyanagi, born in Tokyo, enjoys huge popularity in Japan as both actress and best-selling author. She has been voted the country's favourite television personality 14 times, most notably for Tetsuko's Room, a daily talk show which debuted in 1975. Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window (1981), an autobiographical look at her childhood and education, has been published internationally; and Totto-chan's Children (1999) describes her experiences working for UNICEF.

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For further information, please contact:

Chulho Hyun, Communication Officer
UNICEF Afghanistan Country Office (Islamabad, Pakistan)
Tel: (92-51) 2212948-51, Ext: 306, Direct: (92-51) 2213437
E-mail: chyun@unicef.org
Alfred Ironside, UNICEF Media, New York (212) 326- 7261