May 06, 2008 17:15 ET

UNICEF Canada Launches Emergency Appeal for Victims of Myanmar Cyclone

Women and Children among Hardest Hit by Devastating Cyclone Nargis

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 6, 2008) - UNICEF Canada today launched an emergency appeal for funding to assist survivors of the deadly cyclone that has devastated southern Myanmar.

Cyclone Nargis slammed into the Southeast Asian countryon Saturday. According to reports from the field, Myanmar's military government says nearly 22,500 people have died and about 41,000 are still missing. UN officials have said one million people may be affected and several thousand homeless as a result of the emergency.

"The UN Country Team in Myanmar is launching an emergency appeal to support thousands of families affected by the recent cyclone. UNICEF, as a member of the UN Country Team, is taking the lead on water and sanitation, education, nutrition and protection," said the UNICEF Representative in Myanmar, Ramesh Shrestha.

UNICEF has responded immediately, undertaking urgent preliminary assessments of the needs of children and families in the affected areas and delivering emergency supplies. Immediate needs include water purification tablets, plastic sheeting, cooking sets, bed nets, medical supplies, emergency health kits and food. A major priority is ensuring safe water supplies, especially to vulnerable children.

Women and children make up more than 60 per cent of Myanmar's population, and are likely to be prominent among those affected. Experience shows that children are less able to physically defend themselves against such forces of nature and are highly vulnerable to the dangers that follow in their wake.

There are 131 UNICEF staff operating in Myanmar. Seventeen are international. UNICEF has been present in Myanmar since 1950, with nine zonal offices and a head office in Yangon. The military government has declared a state of emergency and requested international aid.

"Survivors of Cyclone Nargis are in urgent need of emergency supplies to help ensure they have clean water, food and shelter," said Nigel Fisher, President and CEO, UNICEF Canada. "A rapid response will be critical to saving lives. We are asking Canadians to give generously and support UNICEF's work now to help children and their communities in southern Myanmar."

To support UNICEF's work in helping to save the lives of women and children affected by this cyclone, please call 1-877-955-3111 or visit www.unicef.ca.


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.

Contact Information

  • UNICEF Canada
    Karen Snider
    Media Relations Officer
    416-482-4444 ext. 831
    Cell: 647-203-7455
    UNICEF Canada
    Robert Lussier
    Acting Director, Communications
    416-482-4444 Ext. 830
    Cell: 647-282-7546