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UN Appeals for US$562 million for humanitarian operation in quake-struck Haiti

2010-01-14

TORONTO, 15 January 2010 - UNICEF joined the United Nations appeal for $562 million for humanitarian operation in Haiti launched today. The appeal seeks to provide resources to help 3.5 million people for the next 6 months. Key among the urgent needs are life-saving supplies of food, water, medicines and shelter.  Give that nearly 50% of Haiti's population is under the age of 18, UNICEF has a particularly critical role to play and is seeking approximately $120 million for its work as part of the humanitarian relief efforts.

Efforts are also underway to unload and deliver UNICEF emergency supplies and equipment that arrived in Port-au-Prince by plane in the early hours of this morning. This first UNICEF shipment included water tanks, water purification tablets and rehydration salts. Clean water and sanitation are amongst the most important emergency relief needs following most emergencies, in particular to protect against the serious health risks posed by diarrheal infections and diseases.

Two more planes loaded with relief are planned for the weekend, carrying some 70 metric tons of tents, tarpaulin, and medicine.

Many of Haiti's public buildings and utilities have been destroyed. There is severe damage to hospitals, schools and the city’s two seaports. This infrastructure damage has resulted in large scale displacement of people from their homes, into makeshift and overcrowded shelters.

As communications systems and infrastructure damaged by the earthquake that hit near Port au Prince on 12 January are slowly being repaired, precise information about the damage is still not available. According to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) some 3.5 million people are estimated to be in the areas affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks. Thousands are feared dead, many more injured and unknown numbers still buried under the rubble.

UNICEF efforts to assist with life-saving and recovery operations in Haiti will focus on clean water and sanitation, therapeutic food for infants and small children, medical supplies and temporary shelter.

Donations to UNICEF Canada can be made online at www.unicef.ca or by calling 1-877-955-3111.

About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.