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UNICEF Readies to Assist Mexican Flood Victims
Date:11/2/2007

Estimated 400,000 Children Affected; Health Concerns Include Possible

Dengue and Cholera Outbreaks

NEW YORK, Nov. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In what is being described as one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the country, officials with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Mexican Government estimate that one third of those affected by the recent floods in the Mexican state of Tabasco are children.

Of particular concern to UNICEF and the Mexican Ministry of Health is the high risk of water borne diseases such as cholera and dengue that thrive in flood conditions and disproportionately affect children.

UNICEF is projecting that up to 70 percent of Tabasco's schools are out of commission and have confirmed that stocks of educational supplies and emergency school kits are ready to be distributed. The international children's agency will also provide basic personal hygiene and household items to the evacuees and offer psychosocial support where possible.

"UNICEF is providing families with emergency supplies and is preparing to assist with the immediate and long term needs of the population," said Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "We are offering support to local authorities in order to ensure that children return to some sense of normalcy as soon as possible."

The flooding occurred as the result of several days of heavy rain in the region. The latest official information reports that more than one million people are now affected by the flooding, that is 50 percent of the total population with flooding covering almost 80 percent of the state. One hundred percent of the state's crops are now underwater.

A state of emergency has been declared for all 17 municipalities of Tabasco including the capital city of Villahermosa which was evacuated yesterday by members of the national army, after the dams of the Grijalva River broke and flooded the cit
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SOURCE US Fund for UNICEF
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