Côte d'Ivoire

UNICEF airlifts over 60 tons of relief supplies to Côte d'Ivoire

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ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 15 April 2011 - UNICEF is airlifting over 60 tons of medical, nutrition, education and water and sanitation supplies to Côte d’Ivoire where the humanitarian situation of the population has seriously deteriorated after days of intense fighting in Abidjan. Medical kits will allow health workers to treat over 40,000 patients for the next three months.

“It remains difficult for our teams to circulate in Abidjan but UNICEF is slowly but steadily reaching out to the people and deliver much needed aid,” said Hervé Ludovic de Lys, UNICEF Designated Representative in Côte d’Ivoire. “We will resume mass vaccination campaigns as soon as security allows it.”

A chartered cargo plane is set to reach Abidjan on 16 April with 32 tons of relief supplies. In addition two chartered planes will each bring 15 tons of supplies to Man in the West of the country and Bouaké in the center to assist people in need in these areas.

Major cities are under threat of deadly epidemics that could spread quickly due to shortage of clean water. UNICEF and its partners are rushing to distribute water treatment products to the affected areas.

Moreover supplies of essential medicines have been looted in a number of places and there is a risk of resurgent epidemics. UNICEF has distributed essential drugs for an initial 8,000 patients in Abidjan and biscuits to treat children suffering from malnutrition. It will continue to deliver as more supplies arrive in country.

UNICEF is concerned about the state of children who were victims or who witnessed extreme violence and will spearhead efforts to provide them with psychosocial support while assessing their other needs.

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 more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

For more information, please contact: Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York, Tel + 1 212 326 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org