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UNICEF: 'Every Second Can Make a Difference' to Myanmar's Children; 20% Already Suffering from Diarrhea, Malaria reported
Date:5/9/2008

Four Emergency Supply Flights en Route

NEW YORK, May 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Thai Airways plane carrying UNICEF emergency supplies landed in Yangon today, carrying three million water purification tablets. Three more planeloads containing medicines, emergency health kits and special food for malnourished children, are planned over the next three days.

"The urgency facing Myanmar is so great -- every second can make a difference in the life of a Myanmar child," said Juanita Vasquez, Acting Representative of UNICEF Mynamar. "Let's increase our support to improve the lives of children affected by Cyclone Nargis."

An estimated 1.5 million people have been severely affected by Cyclone Nargis and one of their most pressing needs is potable water. The tablets that have now arrived can purify five million liters of contaminated water, enough for the needs of 200,000 people for one week. With many roads still blocked by debris and fallen trees, distributing purification tablets is quicker and more practical than attempting to distribute large quantities of potable water.

UNICEF is very concerned about the impact of bad water on the health of children living in extremely precarious situations. Lack of access to clean water and poor sanitation, inadequate shelter and poor nutrition pose additional risks to children who are already vulnerable to disease and hunger.

According to UNICEF health specialists in Myanmar, 20 percent of children in the worst affected areas already have diarrhea and cases of malaria have also been reported. To counter more outbreaks of communicable and water-borne diseases, UNICEF has distributed 15,000 hygiene kits and has plans to distribute another 20,000, as well as to construct large numbers of portable toilets in camps set up to house people who have lost their homes.

"Childhood is time-sensitive -- kids cannot go weeks without basic survival needs -- their lives depend on imme
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SOURCE UNICEF
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