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UNICEF Charter Plane Lands in Southern Somalia

UNICEF Charter Plane Lands in Southern Somalia

UNICEF NZ Emergency Appeal http://www.unicef.org.nz or 0800 800 194 -

An aircraft, chartered by UNICEF (UN Children’s Fund), has landed in Somalia carrying five tons of life-saving supplies. It is the second relief flight to have landed outside of the capital Mogadishu - the first flights in two years which have been permitted in this area.

Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director of UNICEF NZ said, “The south of Somalia is the area worst affected by the drought, so getting supplies into this region is significant for the many vulnerable children who need our help. Getting aid to people before they have to move from their homes is one of UNICEF’s key priorities.”

UNICEF’s NGO partners received the supplies as soon as the plane landed in Garbaharey, Gedo region a few days ago. The plane carried micro-nutrients and medicines for malnourished children, as well as emergency high-energy biscuits, to benefit vulnerable children and their families affected by the drought in Garbaharey and Bardera.

It is the latest delivery of emergency aid to Somalia by UNICEF, which has carried almost 4200 metric tons of supplies to the region since the 1st of July via 26 chartered flights, five shipping vessels and 54 trucks. This includes:

· 490 metric tons of ready to use therapeutic foods – enough to help 33,000 malnourished children

· 1973 tons of corn-soya blend and rice – enough to feed 79,000 families

· 289,000 doses of measles vaccines to safe-guard children from the disease

· 400 basic water kits to ensure clean water for 4000 families

McKinlay added, “Since famine was declared four weeks ago, UNICEF has responded swiftly by getting aid to the most vulnerable children by plane, ship, and truck.

"UNICEF is treating severely malnourished children as well as providing widespread supplementary feeding for vulnerable children and their families, to prevent them tipping over the edge into a state of severe malnutrition.

"As the clock ticks, more children are at risk of dying from severe malnutrition and diseases like cholera. We are grateful to New Zealanders who have recognised that it is time to share and have been sharing what they can. This support has resulted in $450k in donations so far, but we desperately need more help to stop the situation getting worse,” McKinlay said.

UNICEF’s total funding requirements for the emergency response stand at over US$360 million until the end of 2011. There is still a shortfall of over $120m. UNICEF NZ urgently needs funds - please donate now at http://www.unicef.org.nz or call 0800 800 194.

-ENDS-

NOTE TO EDITOR

UNICEF has been working across all areas of Somalia for 40 years. We are the largest supplier of therapeutic and supplementary nutrition in the country. Despite the challenges to a country torn apart by conflict, insecurity and poverty, UNICEF and its partners, is delivering for children. We work in every region in the south where we operate through a network of 70 non-government partners and deploy third party monitors to ensure that supplies reach children.

Famine has been declared in five regions of the south and indications are that the famine could deepen and spread across other regions in the coming weeks

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