Iraq + 1 more

UNICEF Iraq briefing note 23 Mar 2003

Statement made by Geoffrey Keele
AMMAN, 23 March 2003

Good afternoon.

The operation to try to access the most vulnerable children in Baghdad and surrounding areas continued with the delivery of food and blankets to the Hanan child care institution at Kerbala to the south west of Baghdad. UNICEF national staff at the request of care givers also gave supplies to a centre for the elderly in the town.

Over the last three days, UNICEF has managed to provide essential supplies to institutions caring for up to 900 disadvantaged children and other vulnerable people.

One of the UNICEF team told us today that caregivers at the childrens' institutions were giving 24 hour care, but that you could see the fear in the faces of the children. At the moment these centres are assessed as being clean and well organised. But the team says it is difficult to say how much longer these centres it can manage to maintain adequate child care standards in the present circumstances.

26,000 water purification tablets have been given to the Baghdad city water authority.

In addition to the oil delivered to the UNICEF-supplied backup generator facilities for city water reported yesterday, a further 1,500 litres of petrol have been delivered to facilities. This effort is intended to help maintain clean water in the event of a total failure of electricity supply.

UNICEF in Syria is holding consultations with other agencies and international NGOs to decide responsibilities at 3 camps being planned in case of a refugee influx into the country. It is expected that UNICEF will be involved in education, child protection and health using a donation from the Japanese government. With partners, a therapeutic feeding programme for malnourished children is also being planned.

For further information please contact us:.

Geoffrey Keele, UNICEF Iraq: (962-6) 551-5921 ext. 126 (cell +962-79)692-619
Anis Salem, UNICEF Amman: (+962-6) 553-9977
Wivina Belmonte, UNICEF Geneva:, (+41-79) 909-5509
Alfred Ironside, UNICEF New York, (+1-212) 326-7261