UNICEF is supporting families of victims of the collapsed school in Haiti

News and Press Release
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, 8 November 2008 - While search and rescue operations continue to extricate students and teachers from the rubbles of La Promesse school in Pétion-Ville (Port-au-Prince), UNICEF expresses sympathies and solidarity with the families of the victims.

An estimated 700 students were registered in the private school for children of lower-income families. A number of them were in the classrooms when the walls and the roof collapsed.

In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, UNICEF and its partners dispatched social workers and psychologists to hospitals to provide psychosocial support for those affected by the tragedy. Although no final count for the number of victims is yet available, search and rescue teams fear a heavy death toll.

"UNICEF is with the families at this difficult time," said Annamaria Laurini, UNICEF Representative in Haiti, who went on the site a few hours after the event where she met concerned officials. "We will do everything we can to support identification and documentation of injured children in the various hospitals, in order to facilitate information flow as well as psycho-social support to the families and the children,'' Laurini added.

A UNICEF team also went to a few of the hospitals and was able to inform some parents still unaware of the whereabouts of their children. UNICEF has also ensured that adequate care and additional psychosocial support is provided by partners treating the distressed and wounded survivors.

Upon request from MINUSTAH, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, UNICEF promptly delivered bottled drinking water to the site for the victims and to help the workers in their effort to save trapped victims.

International teams of experts have arrived in Haiti to help in the ongoing search and rescue operations since many children remain trapped under the concrete.


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 further information, please contact:

Annamaria Laurini, Representative, UNICEF Haiti, Telephone: +509 2245-3525, Email: alaurini@unicef.org

Louis-Etienne Vigneault-D., Communication Officer, UNICEF Haiti, Mobile: +509 3463 0056, Email: lvigneault@unicef.org