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UNICEF Rushing Medical Supplies, Tents, Clean Water to Children Affected by Powerful Earthquake in China
Date:5/14/2008

Estimated $5 Million Required for Immediate Needs

NEW YORK, May 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two days after the largest earthquake to hit China in a generation, news of its full impact on the communities living close to the epicenter is still trickling in at a painfully slow speed.

According to AFP news service, military aircraft today dropped relief supplies and personnel by parachute from the air. The agency also reported that a number of villages and small towns were almost completely destroyed. The Chinese government has mounted a massive effort to respond. More than 100,000 rescue personnel are said to have been mobilized to aid in rescue efforts. In order to reach the worst affected areas these teams have been forced to cover the final miles on foot and in very difficult terrain.

Additionally, the Government of China has formally requested assistance from the international community to help meet the needs of those affected. Both cash and relief supplies have been requested, but field assessment missions by outside organizations are not recommended due to the extreme difficulty in traveling to the worst affected areas.

In response, UNICEF China is mobilizing urgently needed relief supplies with immediate emphasis on health and medical kits, tents and shelter materials and clean water and sanitation supplies.

"UNICEF is working with the Government of China to rush tents, medicine, clean water and other supplies to help avert a secondary catastrophe," said Caryl Stern, President and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "Keeping the surviving children alive in the days and weeks ahead is our priority. Their homes, schools and surroundings have literally crumbled around them, causing unimaginable trauma, fear and injury. UNICEF will do whatever it takes to bring relief to the earthquake's smallest survivors."

Prior to the earthquake, UNICEF China had been implementing its programs extensively throughout Sichuan province. Sichuan is one of the poorest and most populous provinces in China. The total population of the province is approximately 90 million. The population of the capital Chengdu is over 10 million. UNICEF is concerned that the number of people killed, injured and affected by this large earthquake will rise daily as additional affected areas are reached by rescue teams over the coming hours.

UNICEF is also responding to the urgent needs of children affected by the recent cyclone in Myanmar, and in dozens of other ongoing emergency situations around the world. The immediate days following a natural disaster require a rapid response, to mitigate the possibility of secondary loss of life, spread of disease and trauma to children.

About UNICEF

For more than 60 years, UNICEF has been the world's leading international children's organization, working in over 150 countries to address the ongoing issues that affect why kids are dying. UNICEF provides lifesaving nutrition, clean water, education, protection and emergency response saving more young lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. While millions of children die every year of preventable causes like dehydration, upper respiratory infections and measles, UNICEF, with the support of partnering organizations and donors alike, has the global experience, resources and reach to give children the best hope of survival. For more information about UNICEF, please visit http://www.unicefusa.org or call 1-800-4-UNICEF.


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SOURCE UNICEF
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