May 15, 2008 15:41 ET

UNICEF Canada Launches Emergency Appeal for Children Suffering From Devestating Earthquake in China

UNICEF Canada Accepting Donations for Two Emergencies: China and Myanmar

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 15, 2008) - UNICEF Canada announced today that it is accepting donations to help children and families affected by the devastating earthquake in China. UNICEF Canada is also accepting donations for the victims of the cyclone in Myanmar, where families continue to deal with the aftermath of the deadly cyclone on May 3.

"We're calling on Canadians to support UNICEF's relief efforts in China and Myanmar. While these emergencies are quite different in scope, the one commonality is that in any emergency children are the most vulnerable," said Nigel Fisher, President & CEO of UNICEF Canada. "More funding is needed so that our staff can continue to work on the ground with their Chinese counterparts to ensure that children are safe, healthy and back in school as quickly as possible."

Canadians have the option to choose which emergency they donate to. All donations will be used directly to assist children and families in the specified country. Donations can be made online at www.unicef.ca or by calling 1-877-955-3111.

UNICEF has country offices around the world. It has the expertise and a proven track record in providing critical assistance to children in the wake of multiple simultaneous emergencies. We have teams on the ground in-country and pre-positioned supplies in place in anticipation of annual seasons of natural disasters.

"We have 9,000 staff around the world and are accustomed to dealing with multiple emergencies simultaneously," said Fisher. "Already we are dealing with ongoing emergencies in countries such as Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan. We are prepared to aid victims in both China and Myanmar at the same time."

In Myanmar, the deadly cyclone has affected more than 2.5 million people, killing tens of thousands. UNICEF deployed its staff within 24 hours in the regions most affected by the cyclone and our staff have been working around the clock since. UNICEF has been successful in getting several plane loads of emergency supplies distributed to the women and children in Myanmar, but there is an urgent need for more aid supplies in the country. It is expected that the rehabilitation of the most affected regions will take several months, even years. UNICEF has launched a global appeal to raise $25.5 million for Myanmar.

In China, the worst earthquake of the generation struck the Sichuan area Monday, leaving thousands buried under schools and buildings. At the request of the Chinese government, UNICEF is providing critical assistance to the earthquake relief efforts and has mobilized urgently needed relief supplies with immediate emphasis on health kits, tents and shelter materials, as well as water and sanitation supplies. UNICEF has launched an appeal to raise US$5 million for the immediate needs in China.

UNICEF is deeply concerned by the large number of children that have not yet been recovered from the rubbles following the major earthquake in Sichuan Province. The total number of children in Sichuan schools is 12.2 million. The total number of children in school in the hardest hit counties is 2.3 million. Authorities on the ground have determined it is no longer possible to keep track of the number of schools and public buildings that have collapsed burying many children and adults under rubble.

To support UNICEF's work in China and Myanmar, please visit www.unicef.ca or call 1-877-955-3111.


UNICEF is the world's leader for children, working in 156 countries and territories to save, protect and enhance the lives of girls and boys. UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, promotes quality basic education, protects children from violence, exploitation and AIDS, and is the world's largest provider of vaccines for developing nations. A global leader in emergencies with six decades of on-the-ground experience, UNICEF saves and rebuilds children's lives in natural disasters and conflict. UNICEF is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from individuals, businesses, foundations, schools, associations and governments.

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