UNICEF is providing more than 300,000 water and sanitation items to help flood-affected families in Thailand, in order to help prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

In the coming week, UNICEF will provide 60,000 bottles of chlorine drops, each of which can be used to purify 2,000 litres of water, and over 200,000 bars of sap.

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An unusually severe rainy season has resulted in the country’s worst flooding in more than 50 years. More than 533 people, including 77 children, have died. Many provinces, including Bangkok, are inundated with floodwaters and over 2.1 million people are currently affected.

"Children stranded in houses surrounded by water have no space to play, so they end up playing in the water," said Tomoo Hozumi, the UNICEF Representative for Thailand. "Since many Thai children do not know how to swim, there is great risk involved." 

With floodwaters receding in some provinces, UNICEF will be distributing "school in a box" kits to over a thousand schools. Each kit contains essential learning and teaching materials for up to 80 students, and will be used to get children back to learning in temporary locations while their schools are repaired and refurbished. 

"Getting children back into school and back to a normal routine as soon as possible will help speed their recovery from this disaster," Hozumi said. "UNICEF wants to do all it can to ensure this." 

 
Children are extremely vulnerable during floods. Threats include death due to drowning, outbreaks of waterborne disease and possible separation from their families. An estimated 500,000 children are currently affected by the floods.  © UNICEF Thailand/2011/Piyanun
Children are extremely vulnerable during floods. Threats include death due to drowning, outbreaks of waterborne disease and possible separation from their families. An estimated 500,000 children are currently affected by the floods. © UNICEF Thailand/2011/Piyanun