Save the Children Provides Lifesaving Relief for Thousands of Cyclone Survivors



    TORONTO, Nov. 19 /CNW/ - Save the Children is responding to the needs of
thousands of children in Bangladesh who have survived the worst cyclone of the
past decade. Media reports a death toll of over 2,200 people, over 825,000
people affected, over 47,000 homes damaged or destroyed, and an estimated
406,153 acres of cropland destroyed. The desperate need for lifesaving support
for children is expected to climb as many areas are still inaccessible due to
high floodwaters and roads are blocked by fallen debris.
    "The good news is that many people have survived this disaster,
especially compared to past cyclones, but the bad news is that most survivors
on the coastal areas are left with nothing," said David Morley, President and
CEO of Save the Children Canada.
    "Many families have lost everything, including their homes and their
crops, and they are struggling without food or fresh water" Morley said. "We
are appealing to the public to support our efforts to assist children and
families affected by this disaster. We remain very concerned about possible
outbreaks of cholera and severe diarrhea."
    Save the Children's Disaster Preparedness teams report that people have
left cyclone shelters and are returning to villages with destroyed homes and
ruined fields. The Government of Bangladesh has supplied food for the affected
populations but reserves are exhausted or very low at present.

    
    Save the Children is working in 3 districts across Barisal Division as
follows:

    -   We are distributing 5,000 packets of water purification tablets for
        identified pockets of communities where water contamination was
        severe and outbreaks of diarrhea expected.
    -   At the request of the local authorities, Save the Children's 3 water
        ambulances are being used to ferry/transfer injured patients to
        health facilities.
    -   Save the Children has begun preparations to begin distribution of
        high-energy biscuits to 8,000 people, to last 2 days.
    -   On November 16, 500 Household Kits were distributed and today another
        2,500 have been dispatched from Barisal town to outlying Districts
        for distribution tomorrow along with 500 blankets.
    -   Another 2,000 blankets and 30,000 water purification tablets were
        sent from Dhaka to the impact area for distribution tomorrow and the
        day after.
    -   An additional 70,000 water purification tablets are being sent from
        Dhaka on November 18.
    -   In Velumia 2,000 liters of purified water have been dispatched in 200
        jerry cans and ferried across river-ways to affected households.
    -   Over 50 Save the Children staff will continue to visit communities
        and identify children's critical needs over the next several weeks,
        with the emergency response expected to take 6 months to one year.
    

    Save the Children has been working in Bangladesh since 1972 and in recent
years has worked closely with local and national authorities to prepare
coastal communities for a severe cyclone. The agency conducted an emergency
cyclone drill for some 10,000 residents living in the area where the cyclone
struck, as part of its own preparations.
    Save the Children was one of few humanitarian agencies with emergency
responders positioned in the path of the storm, where remote and low-lying
areas were still recovering from extreme flooding during the summer of 2007.
Prior to the storm, the agency deployed equipment, including zodiac rescue
boats, to the impact area, and mobilized food and water-purification
resources.

    
    Notes:

    -   Save the Children Canada is a member of the International Save the
        Children Alliance, the world's largest independent organization for
        children, working to make a difference in children's lives through
        the realization of their rights. For more information please visit
        www.savethechildren.ca

    -   Save the Children emergency relief staff responding in Bangladesh are
        available for interviews.
    





For further information:

For further information: Save the Children emergency relief staff
responding in Bangladesh are available for interviews. Please contact: Sue
Rooks, Communications, Save the Children Canada, 4141 Yonge St., Suite 300,
Toronto, ON, M2P 2A8, srooks@savethechildren.ca, (B) (416) 221-5501, ext 305,
(Cell) (647) 273-7134

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