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UN Working To Meet Needs Of Gustav Victims

UN Agencies Working To Meet Urgent Needs Of Hurricane Gustav Victims

New York, Sep 1 2008 5:10PM

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are teaming up to bring life-saving assistance to thousands of people living in temporary shelters in Haiti, after deadly Hurricane Gustav struck the country last week.

The two agencies, along with local authorities and partners, are providing potable water, blankets, hygiene kits, cooking sets, high-energy biscuits, rice, beans, corn-soya blend and vegetable oil to some 4,000 people in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and in the southern towns of Jacmel, which is in the heart of the most heavily affected region, and Bainet.

Up to 10,000 people in southern Haiti could require assistance in the coming weeks, according to UN agencies and Government officials.

"It is crucial that we immediately provide life-saving assistance to ensure that women and children who are the most vulnerable to waterborne diseases receive clean water and access to sanitation," said Annamaria Laurini, UNICEF Representative in Haiti.

Over the past two days, WFP dispatched, by road and UN helicopter, more than 50 metric tons of food as well as UNICEF hygiene kits, blankets and tents to affected areas in the south, where displaced families are staying in churches, schools and other public buildings.

Five tents will be set up in area villages to provide shelter for families who lost their homes but cannot easily access existing shelters.

"We are relieved to reach these people who faced dire conditions following the hurricane," said Myrta Kaulard, WFP Representative in Haiti. "Our collaboration with UNICEF means that we can better assist people by providing them both food and other essential supplies like potable water."

Yesterday a special chartered helicopter provided by the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) airlifted three metric tons of UNICEF and WFP supplies to the isolated town of Bainet.

Hurricane Gustav, which tore through Haiti on 27 August, killed at least 51 people and destroyed homes, livestock and crops.

ENDS

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