JERUSALEM/NEW YORK/GENEVA, 22 June 2007 - UNICEF is delivering emergency medical supplies and vaccines to help prevent outbreaks of disease among children in Gaza.
Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella; BCG (anti-tuberculosis) and tetanus were delivered on Wednesday, with another shipment of vaccines and emergency kits pending.
The UN children's agency is also supplying 50,000 litres of fuel to run water and sanitation systems for up to 300,000 people, while damages to electricity networks are repaired. Children are most at risk from both water-borne as well as vaccine-preventable diseases.
With little access in or out of the Gaza Strip, stocks of essential medicines are at critical levels. Health facilities are struggling to address the needs of an exhausted and traumatized population, and UNICEF is working to treat children suffering from shock and extreme stress.
Rising food prices, and the fact that more than two-thirds of families are already below the poverty line mean that nutrition standards for children and pregnant women could worsen, UNICEF said. Across the occupied Palestinian territory, one in 10 children is stunted; in Northern Gaza, almost 30 per cent of children are short for their age.
UNICEF's work in the occupied Palestinian territory focuses on education, health, nutrition, water, sanitation, child protection and adolescent participation.
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:
Marixie Mercado, UNICEF Media Jerusalem, +972 2 583 0013, email@example.com
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Media New York, 1 212 326-7426, firstname.lastname@example.org
Veronique Taveau, UNICEF Media Geneva, +41 22 909 5716, email@example.com