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Ceasefire Needed for Safety of Children in Lebanon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7 AUGUST 2006

Urgent Ceasefire Needed to Ensure Safety of Children in South Lebanon

An urgent ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon is needed to ensure the safety of innocent children according to Save the Children New Zealand. SCNZ notes a resolution could take a long time to finalise and children's lives need to be protected right now. Save the Children is helping children in both South Lebanon and Gaza affected by the conflict.

"Innocent children are in huge danger. Save the Children New Zealand calls on all involved to ensure a ceasefire be agreed to urgently to prevent more innocent children being killed, injured and displaced. Children are bearing the brunt of these attacks. In 26 days of fighting CNN says that 800 have been killed. Save the Children estimates that 45 per cent of those killed in Lebanon were children and of the over 800,000 displaced people, at least 200,000 are children under the age of 18.

"A ceasefire is also needed to ensure that aid supplies can get to those in desperate need of them. It is shocking to hear today that an Israeli air strike was carried out on a car 'just ahead' of a UN aid convoy, killing two people in the car. Clearly a humanitarian ceasefire must be effected to allow people to reach hospitals and medical care, as well as to allow humanitarian agencies access to the 800,000 people displaced by the crisis in southern Lebanon." John Bowis, Executive Director of Save the Children New Zealand said today.

"Due to the damage to roads and airports in Lebanon, all governments and the international community must now take extraordinary measures to ensure that essential food, water and medicine reaches the displaced.

"Save the Children is already helping children affected by this crisis. We have delivered food and relief items through partners to 52 centres for displaced families in southern Lebanon. We are also working with partners to get blankets, nappies, food and other basic items to families affected by the conflict. We are scaling up our emergency response to ensure that around 50,000 people in Lebanon, including 19,000 children, have access to adequate nutrition and that safe, protected areas are available for children," John Bowis said.

Save the Children New Zealand is accepting donations to assist with this work on ph 0800 167 168 and our website www.savethechildren.org.nz.

ENDS

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