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KATHMANDU, April 29, 2015 /CNW/ - An estimated 1.7 million children are now in urgent need of aid in the areas worst-hit by the earthquake in Nepal, according to UNICEF.
The children's organization revealed the figure as it launched a US$50.35 million appeal to get humanitarian assistance to children and their families amid growing risk of disease outbreaks. The appeal is UNICEF's portion of a new inter-agency fundraising ask to meet immediate needs over the next three months.
"We know with disasters of this magnitude that our ability to provide effective immediate and long-term support can mean the difference between life and death for children. We encourage Canadians to give their generous support to the relief efforts," said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO.
"UNICEF has been working in Nepal for 50 years and has 200 staff in the country who are working around the clock to meet the immediate needs of children and families, while preparing for the long-term response needed to ensure all of Nepal's children have the opportunity to survive and thrive. These children will never forget this horrifying disaster, but with UNICEF's support, they will be able to move forward and rebuild their lives and communities," added Morley.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake has killed almost 5,000 people and injured more than 9,700. It has also driven tens of thousands of people into open spaces and temporary camps in the Kathmandu valley and the rest of the worst-affected districts.
"The lives of so many children have been torn apart and they are in desperate need of life-saving support, including clean water, shelter and sanitation," says Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Nepal Representative.
"Without a safe water supply, waterborne diseases remain huge risks for children. Many families are struggling simply to protect themselves from the sun and rain and we only expect needs to grow in the coming days as we receive more information from more remoter areas and the full scale of the disaster becomes more apparent."
UNICEF is working with partners to deliver vital humanitarian assistance including clean water and shelter.
Latest updates from UNICEF's response include:
- Tents, hygiene kits, water purification tablets and buckets have been dispatched to Gorkha for distribution, the area at the epicentre of the earthquake, where the presence of dead bodies poses the risk of disease outbreak. Vital supplies have also been dispatched to Kavre and Dhading.
- UNICEF is delivering water purification tablets, buckets and hygiene kits in Bhaktapur where only one in five people are estimated to have access to clean water.
- Water tankers are distributing clean water to 16 informal camps that have sprung up in the Kathmandu valley.
- Teams are identifying and assisting children who have been separated from their families
- UNICEF is working with partners to provide psychological support for children living in informal camps who have experienced extreme shock.
More than 80 per cent of health facilities in the five most severely affected districts have been extensively damaged, with treatment taking place outside. And 274 out of 323 schools assessed in 16 affected districts are either partially or fully damaged – highlighting the need for temporary learning spaces to protect children and allow them to establish a routine.
To donate, please go to unicef.ca or call 1-877-955-3111. All donations made to UNICEF Canada between April 25 and May 25, 2015 will be matched by the Canadian government.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.
SOURCE UNICEF Canada
For further information: Tiffany Baggetta, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8892, 647-308-4806 (mobile), firstname.lastname@example.org