The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has been able to deliver supplies in the embattled capital city of Cote D'Ivoire for the first time in weeks. The supplies included medicine, nutritional supplements, soap and blankets. The agency is also preparing for its first airlift since the fighting begun as 32 metric tons of humanitarian supplies are due to land in the capital in the coming days.
"While a certain level of insecurity still exists in Abidjan, we are hopeful we can move ahead with ramping up our humanitarian operation in the capital and elsewhere in the country where it is needed. Our most urgent priorities are to re-establish safe water systems and deliver critical health supplies. We intend to resume emergency immunisation campaigns to prevent disease outbreaks especially amongst children who are the most vulnerable," said Herve Ludovic de Lys, UNICEF representative in Abidjan.
"We plan a big expansion of our operation in Cote D'Ivoire along with our humanitarian partners and the Government, to restore access and cover those in need of life-saving supplies. But this will not be possible without sufficient funding and we are seriously under-funded at the moment. Without fresh funding, this humanitarian operation will not happen to the extent it needs to and children will suffer," said Mr de Lys.
UNICEF is supporting children who have witnessed violence and possibly seen family members killed or injured. These children need special care now and in the future, says the agency, which is working to get children back to school as soon as conditions permit.
UNICEF is preparing a distribution of school kits for over 600 schools across the country.
According to UNICEF, many cities across the country are running out of safe drinking water and it is working to get water treatment supplies to those cities. In addition, the agency says there is a high risk of measles and cholera outbreaks and preparations are underway to resume immunisations as quickly as possible. Shortages of essential medicines are critical. In the north of the country, stocks are sufficient for between two weeks to a month.
For more information, please contact:
Terry Ally, UNICEF London, Mobile: +44 (0)7714 721 701, email@example.com
UNICEF London Media Team: +44 (0)20 7 375 6030
UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights in more than 190 countries. As champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF works to help every child realise their full potential. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN budget. For more information, please visit www.unicef.org.uk.