KATHMANDU, Nepal and NEW YORK, April 26, 2015 /CNW/ - At least 940,000 children living in areas severely affected by yesterday's earthquake in Nepal are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, says UNICEF. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25, and nearly 60 aftershocks, caused vast devastation across much of the country, including more than 2,000 deaths and widespread destruction of buildings.
"Our field teams are updating us on the widespread devastation children in Nepal are facing today—horrors no child should have to live through. UNICEF has been working in Nepal since the 1960s; we know the country well and our field teams are pre-positioned to assess the needs and resources to best help children and their families," said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO.
"The continued generosity of Canadians in responding to natural disasters has been critical in enabling UNICEF to reach the most vulnerable children—and, as our teams on the ground provide updates on the situation in Nepal today, we are once again reaching out to Canadians for support," said Morley.
UNICEF staff in Nepal report dwindling supplies of water and food, power outages, and downed cell phone networks. Hundreds of thousands of people spent the night sleeping in open areas, out of fear of more tremors. Heavy rain is now also reported to be worsening conditions. This crisis leaves children particularly vulnerable—limited access to safe water and sanitation will put children at great risk from waterborne diseases, while some children may have become separated from their families.
UNICEF is mobilizing staff and emergency supplies to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children affected by the earthquake, focusing on water and sanitation, nutrition, education and child protection. UNICEF is already supporting tankering of water and provision of oral rehydration salts and zinc supplements to people gathered in informal settlements, and providing tents for field medical facilities, using supplies already prepositioned in the country.
UNICEF is also readying two cargo flights with a combined 120 tons of humanitarian supplies including medical and hospital supplies, tents and blankets, for urgent airlift to Kathmandu.
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SOURCE UNICEF Canada
For further information: Tiffany Baggetta, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8892, 647-308-4806 (mobile), [email protected]