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Press release

UNICEF salutes two great games, one great cause

Football Teams Huddle Up to Assist Children of Haiti

MIAMI, PANAMA CITY, PORT-AU-PRINCE, 12 November 2004 – UNICEF cheered the thousands of soccer fans, two teams and partners as the 1994 Brazil World Cup reunion team and the national team of Haiti faced each other in a friendly show down benefiting the beleaguered children of Haiti.

Friday, newly retired Brazilian star striker Romario pledged to Haitian children an initial $2,000 and added $1,000 for every goal he will net during today's match.   Additionally, the United States Soccer Federation is donating its fee toward UNICEF Haiti.  Part of the sale of every ticket - $5 - from the doubleheader, will go to UNICEF efforts to get Haitian children back in school.  In addition to the friendly match between Brazil and Haiti, the Orange Bowl will also host a World Cup qualifying round pitching the Mexico national team against St. Kitts and Nevis National team,

“The generosity of the teams, the players and the organizations that have helped put this together will give a real boost to our efforts to relieve the suffering of the children whose lives have been devastated by the recent disasters and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in this country,” said Nils Kastberg, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Haiti is plagued by a history of violent conflict, poverty and HIV/AIDS.  Gonaives, the third largest city in Haiti was swamped by flood waters after Tropical Storm Jeanne on the 17 and 18th September 2004, the brunt of which has fallen on the children. 

The funds raised from the game will go toward ensuring that children will be in school as quickly as possible.  There is no time to lose, as children, particularly girls, who miss a year of school are likely to never return again.

UNICEF will rebuild some 28 schools as well as providing equipment. 

UNICEF expressed gratitude to long-time partners FIFA and CONMEBOL and new associate Traffic Sport USA for arranging the benefit match for Haiti and is looking forward to working together to harness the power of sport for children.

Last August 18, Brazil's current national team, accompanied by Brazilian President Ignacio Lula da Silva journeyed to Port-au-Prince for a friendly match against the Haitian national team dedicated to peace, understanding and solidarity. Thousands of spectators lined the streets and jammed into the stadium to watch the game and enjoy a day of goodwill and fun, a needed respite for the children of Haiti.

There is still a $6 million funding shortfall for UNICEF programmes.
“The children of Haiti have been through so many trials and we have a long way to go before the situation will be stable,” said Francoise Gruloos-Ackerman, UNICEF Haiti Country Representative.  “It is so important to the children of Haiti that help is coming from our neighbors in Brazil and the USA.  We know we cannot do this alone.” 

Background on Haiti:

A Haitian child born in 2003 could expect to live to age 50.  In the United States, the same child could expect to live to 77.

Out of any 100 children born in Haiti today:

  • 21 per cent will be born underweight
  • 76 per cent will not be breastfed exclusively
  • 43 per cent will be immunized against polio and diphtheria
  • 53 per cent will be immunized against measles

Following Tropical Storm Jeanne 150,000 children have been affected. Thousands of children are living in shelters, and 30,000 children under the age of five and 8,000 women who are breastfeeding are at particular risk to disease and poor nutrition.

For further information, please contact: 

Alejandro Carnero, UNICEF Haiti,  509 245.93.23 
Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media,  917 378 2128
Viviana  Limpias, UNICEF Media, Panama  011 507 678 5555




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