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UNICEF Rushes Relief Supplies to Iran Quake Zone

UNICEF Rushes Relief Supplies to Iran Quake Zone

NEW YORK, UNICEF is rushing over 40 tonnes of relief supplies to Iran to help tens of thousands of children affected by Thursday's earthquake near the town of Bam, the agency confirmed today.

Two UNICEF relief flights will arrive in Iran on Sunday. The first will come from neighboring Afghanistan, where UNICEF's ongoing relief effort is making available vital emergency supplies from its stocks. That flight will land in Bam on Sunday morning carrying medicines and medical equipment, tents, tarps and children's blankets. The flight will be accompanied by a medical doctor from UNICEF's staff in Kabul.

A second, larger relief flight will depart from UNICEF's global supply centre in Copenhagen Sunday morning and arrive early Sunday evening in Iran. The 40 tonnes of relief items in that cargo include:

* First aid and health supplies capable of treating 120,000 people * Dozens of special obstetric and surgical kits each sufficient to assist in the delivery of 150 babies * 14,000 blankets, including 7,600 baby blankets * 625,000 water purification tablets to ensure a safe drinking supply * 16 community water tanks with a capacity of 5,000 litres each * 3 portable generators * And tents, tarpaulin, rope, and other shelter supplies

The shipment is valued at approximately US $285,000.

"Time is of the essence at this stage," said Kari Egge, the UNICEF Representative in Iran. "While the urgent search for survivors continues, it is equally urgent to care for the thousands of children left homeless by this devastating quake. Right now people are living on the streets, and it's very cold at night. The children are very vulnerable."

UNICEF said it would soon issue a flash appeal to help provide continuing emergency relief to Bam's children. UNICEF is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from individuals, businesses, foundations, and governments.

UNICEF has been present and operated programs for children in Iran almost continuously since 1962.

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