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100 tons of UNICEF medical supplies to land in Sichuan


Child psychosocial support assessment concludes; urgent needs defined

BEIJING, May 2008 –A UNICEF emergency relief shipment containing 100 tons of health and nutritional supplies for children and pregnant women will arrive in Sichuan on Friday May 30. The shipment of “emergency health kits” consisting of basic medicines and equipment, nutritional supplements and obstetric supplies will arrive by air from the UNICEF global warehouse in Denmark. Once in Chengdu the goods will be transported to the thirteen counties worst hit by the May 12 earthquake.

The supplies will provide support for the basic health needs of 1.4 million people over three months and for the safe handling of up to 2,000 complicated deliveries. UNICEF is working closely with national and local authorities to coordinate the massive shipment.

This first of several health related consignments in the pipeline from UNICEF includes 140 emergency health kits, each covering the needs of a population of 10,000 people, 80 neo-natal resuscitation kits, 80 sterilization kits and special nutritional supplements for 110,000 children under five and 42,000 pregnant women.

Children who have been relocated in temporary camps and shelters are at higher risk of common diseases such as diarrhoea and respiratory infections which can cause serious problems in young children.

Dr. Yin Yin Nwe, UNICEF Representative and UN Disaster Management Team Chair said today: “We are very pleased to see our first shipment of health kits and nutritional supplements reaching Sichuan. These supplies will go to the worst hit counties to help with both the emergency related and routine health problems in these areas. The nutritional supplements will help children and pregnant women stay healthy and resist infections.”

Dr. Nwe returned Saturday from UNICEF’s recent mission with Chinese government officials to support efforts to help children recover from post-earthquake psychosocial stress. The mission identified four major categories of children most in need of psychosocial support: (a) surviving children in pre-existing orphanages who have been hastily evacuated to makeshift camps; (b) surviving children in boarding schools in the earthquake zones who do not know how to find their parents; (c) children who have lost their parents in the earthquake and (d) children disabled by injuries during the earthquake. All four groups are urgently in need of immediate psychosocial services, which UNICEF and counterparts are now the process of organizing. Registration and tracing are also urgent priorities. There are at least 5,498 unaccompanied children in the earthquake affected areas.

“Children are under great stress.” Said Dr Nwe, “One young boy I met had lost both parents and could only state his name and no other facts about his life. All partners concerned with protecting these children have a huge task in front of them.”


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