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Unicef Child Protection Specialist in Haiti

- With Photo

LONDON, January 18 /PRNewswire/ -- On 17 January, an unaccompanied child with a broken pelvis lies on a hospital bed in a room full of other patients who were wounded during the earthquake, in a field hospital set up near the main airport in Port-au-Prince, the capital. Beside her, UNICEF Child Protection Specialist Nadine Perrault confers with hospital staff, most of who have been provided by the American University of Miami. Ms. Perrault wears a T-shirt and cap that bear the UNICEF logo.

By 17 January 2010 in Haiti, humanitarian assistance continues to focus on search and rescue operations and the provision of medical services, shelter, food and water to victims of the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that hit the country on 12 January. Authorities estimate that as many as 200,000 people have died (50,000 bodies have been collected to-date) and an estimated 3 million have been severely affected by the disaster. The quake's epicentre was only 17 kilometres from Port-au-Prince, the capital; nearby cities of Carrefour and Jacmel were also hit. Major government and private infrastructure have been destroyed or heavily damaged, including hospitals, water, sanitation and electrical systems, and telecommunications, banks and transportation networks. United Nations and UNICEF buildings and residences were also hit, and UN staff and peacekeepers with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) are missing. MINUSTAH, totaling 7,000 peacekeepers and 2,000 police, have relocated their logistics base close to the airport to help coordinate incoming international relief assistance.

The UN Consolidated Flash Appeal for the Haiti earthquake emergency requests US $575 million for relief and recovery for the next six months. UNICEF's portion of the appeal is US $127.9 million - UNICEF is also the lead coordinating agency for education, child protection, nutrition and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene). Working with the government, other UN agencies, international and local NGOs and private partners, UNICEF has distributed safe water supplies and equipment, rehydration salts, and medical and shelter materials, with more on the way. This latest catastrophe exacerbates Haiti's already critical humanitarian situation. An estimated 46 per cent of its 10 million inhabitants are under age 18, and more than 78 per cent of the population lives on less than US $2.00 a day.

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