UNICEF Extremely Concerned About Welfare of Libyan Children and Women

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Emergency disaster relief teams being deployed to Tunisia and Egypt. Team to Libya on standby

UNICEF, the world's leading children organization, has assembled teams of experts to fly into Tunisia and Egypt and another on standby for Libya as the agency today launches the Libya Crisis Children's Appeal for $7.2 million to meet humanitarian needs of women and children in all three countries over the coming months.

UNICEF is expecting the number of refugees to climb into the hundreds of thousands if the unrest continues. Critical facilities such as clinics and hospitals are not open for a variety of reasons. Food supplies routes have been disrupted and Libyan children and their families are facing a potential humanitarian crisis.

“In any emergency where people are displaced, children are the most vulnerable population,” said U.S. Fund for UNICEF President and CEO Caryl Stern. “Our mission is to provide them with not only basic needs like food, water, medical care and protection, but to be their voice and to advocate on their behalf.”

Nearly 100,000 people have already fled across borders to escape from the violence and the rapidly spreading conflict in Libya. Up to 40,000 people have crossed the border from Libya into Tunisia, while an estimated 55,000 people have crossed into Egypt. The first wave of displaced people is mostly constituted of returning nationals or third country migrants. As the conflict continues within Libya, however, growing numbers of Libyans are fleeing the country with their families. Immediate concerns for children include child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, and health and nutrition.

In Tunisia and Egypt, UNICEF is prepared to strengthen its capacity to respond in all sectors, pre-positioning stock for possible outflow of Libyan families and specific efforts to reinforce child protection capacity. Child protection interventions will include psychosocial support and family tracing and reunification efforts in anticipation of increasing numbers of unaccompanied or separated children. In Tunisia, the immediate priority will be to provide water, sanitation and hygiene services to the people who have already crossed the border into Egypt. As soon as the security situation in Libya allow UNICEF will deploy a core response team whose initial focus will be around child protection and psychosocial support, water, sanitation, hygiene nutrition and emergency health care.

To donate to the emergency relief efforts in Libya please visit http://www.unicefusa.org or call 1-800-4UNICEF.

About UNICEF
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.

UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2008. But still, 22,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit http://www.unicefusa.org.

For additional information, please contact:
Marci Greenberg, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2464, mgreenberg(at)unicefusa(dot)org
Lauren Monahan, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9136, lmonahan(at)unicefusa(dot)org

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Marci Greenberg
U.S. Fund for UNICEF
212-922-2646
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Lauren Monahan
U.S. Fund for UNICEF
212-880-9136
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