NEW YORK, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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. 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.
"It is imperative that while we execute our search and rescue efforts that we prepare for the long term work of making sure that affected children are returned to a normal, stable life," said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "That means providing them with not only food, water and medical care but with protection and education as well. By serving these children we are seeing to a better future for Haiti."
Efforts are underway to unload and deliver UNICEF emergency supplies and equipment that arrived in Port-au-Prince by plane in the early hours 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 January 12 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.
To donate to the ongoing emergency relief efforts in Haiti and the Caribbean region, please visit: www.unicefusa.org/haitiquake or call 1-800-4UNICEF.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in over 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.
UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress—the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2008. But still, 24,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.
For more information, please contact:
Lauren Monahan, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, (212) 880-9136, email@example.com
Marci Greenberg, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, (212) 922-2464, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Szarkowski, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, (212)922-2643, email@example.com
SOURCE U.S. Fund for UNICEF