CENTRAL AMERICA / HURRICANE STAN

14-Oct-2005
Nils Kastberg, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean provided an update on humanitarian assistance to Central America.
UNICEF - UNTV
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STORY: UNIFEED UNICEF / CENTRAL AMERICA

TRT: 3.11

SOURCE: UNICEF,UNTV

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

LANGUAGE: CH1 / ENGLISH / NATS

CH2 / ENGLISH/ NATS

DATELINE: 14 OCTOBER 2005, NEW YORK CITY. FILE: PANAJACHEL, GUATEMALA, FRIDAY 7 OCT 2005; PANAJACHEL, GUATEMALA, FRIDAY 7 OCT 2005 - PANAJACHEL GYMNASIUM; PANAJACHEL, GUATEMALA, FRIDAY 7 OCT 2005 - PANAJACHEL EMBANKMENT

 
SHOTLIST
PANAJACHEL, GUATEMALA, FRIDAY 7 OCT 2005 (UNTV)

1. Various shots overflowing river

2. Pan right, tree flowing down river in rain with people looking on from other side.

3. Med shot, People carrying mattresses in rain, evacuating homes

4.

14 OCTOBER 2005, NEW YORK CITY

5. SOUNDBITE (English) Nils Kastberg, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean:

"It's only in the last few days that it's starting to dawn I think on the Central Americans the vastness of what has happened for the past weeks, over the and past days. It has affected Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras but now in El Salvador, Guatemala and Southern Mexico really reached enormous proportions. I think it's starting to dawn half a million peoples have lost their homes, are in temporary shelters, they need immediate help "

FILE: PANAJACHEL, GUATEMALA, FRIDAY 7 OCT 2005 - PANAJACHEL GYMNASIUM (UNTV)

6. Various shots, homeless people in shelter

FILE: SANTIAGO DE ATITLAN, CANTON PANBAJ (UNTV)

7. Med shot, people crying

8. Wide shot, carrying coffins

9. Various shots, burring the dead

14 OCTOBER 2005, NEW YORK CITY

10. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Nils Kastberg, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean:

"From the first day we have been there in combination with the authorities of these countries, accompanying the process, giving out aid, rehidration salts, chlorine that we had in our own warehouse, so in different ways we have been giving aid since the first day. Personal hygiene articles, for example, when you have several hundred shelters; toilet paper, dentifrice, small things for people who have lost everything; they need that, and there is where we've have been supporting them"

FILE: PANAJACHEL, GUATEMALA, FRIDAY 7 OCT 2005 - PANAJACHEL EMBANKMENT (UNTV)

11. Various shot, Lake Atitlan full of debris, women collect driftwood to dry to make fire so they can keep warm

12. Wide shot, women collect driftwood

14 OCTOBER 2005, NEW YORK CITY

SOUNDBITE: Nils Kastberg, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean

"I believe that for these children who lost all there material belongings, all their friends, lots have lost their schools, there homes and for them thats a very traumatic situation and there is where we work with the whole community; how the mothers can talk to their children so those nightmares that they have every night can be talked about and they can help them with the psycho social recovery"

 
STORYLINE
 

The torrential rains, flooding and mudslides caused by the storm left hundreds and possibly thousands of people dead, and close to half a million people homeless, from southern Mexico to El Salvador, in what experts described as the worst disaster to hit the region since Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

"It's only in the last few days that it's starting to dawn on the Central Americans the vastness of what has happened for the past weeks, over the past days. It has affected Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, but now in El Salvador, Guatemala and Southern Mexico IT really reached enormous proportions. I think it's starting to dawn half a million peoples have lost their homes, are in temporary shelters, they need immediate help " said Nils Kastberg, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

In many indigenous villages hit by the disaster, children and adolescents make up close to 50% the population.

As part of initial UN emergency appeals and in coordination with the governments involved, UNICEF is seeking close to $6 million for the humanitarian effort in Guatemala and El Salvador and has already diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars from its regular development programmes in the affected countries to help governments and NGOs respond to the crisis.

Kastberg explained that from the first day UNICEF has been there (Central America) in combination working with the authorities of these countries, accompanying the process, giving out aid, rehidration salts, chlorine that UNICEF had in their own warehouse, "so in different ways we have been giving aid since the first day" said Nils Kastberg


UNICEF staff are supporting assessment missions to gauge the needs of children and families in disaster-struck communities. In Guatemala, where the official death toll stands at 652 and hundreds more are reported missing, it is estimated that 130,000 people in 420 communities have been affected. Some 280 temporary shelters are housing 90,000 people. UNICEF immediately redirected $350,000 from its regular country programme for relief items and is requesting $3.6 million as part of the UN appeal issued yesterday.

The assistance will addressU-R-G-E-N-Tneeds for safe water and sanitation; monitoring nutritional status of women and children; distribution of milk to severely malnourished children; provision of basic health services, educational and recreational supplies, as well as ensuring protection for children in shelters.

Nils Kastberg pointed out that he believes that for those children who besides loosing all there material belongings, have lost all their friends, also lots have lost their schools and there homes this is a very traumatic situation and there is where UNICEF is working with the whole community; Kastberg said that they are also working with the mothers so they can talk to their children about those nightmares that they have every night and help them with their psico social recovery

In El Salvador, where volcanic eruptions last week added another tragic dimension to the emergency, more than 65,000 people have been displaced and some 400 shelters established. As part of its initial response and despite the partial flooding of its own premises, UNICEF delivered 2,000 family hygiene kits to meet the immediate needs of 10,000 people; 50,000 packages of oral rehydration salts to prevent deaths from diarrhea; personal hygiene items and water purification tablets, as well as 2,000 kits with recreation and school supplies for children in shelters. In addition to relief supplies, UNICEF is seeking an additional $2.2 million to provide further relief supplies and support for children in the shelters and to families as they return to their homes.

A contribution from the US Fund for UNICEF made it possible to quickly send relief supplies to the affected countries from UNICEF's regional hub in Panama. UNICEF National Committees in Spain and other industrialized countries are also calling on individuals and corporations to donate funds to meetU-R-G-E-N-Tneeds in Central America and South Asia alike. In Costa Rica, where some 5,000 people were displaced and 700 are in temporary shelters, UNICEF and a range of partners mobilized to provide fuel for helicopters to speed aid to hard-to-reach communities, food, water purification tablets and psychosocial support for children in shelters.

In Nicaragua and Honduras, where the impact of the storm was less severe, UNICEF offices are closely monitoring the situation and providing assistance in the framework of their ongoing co-operation with governments and civil society. Of longer-term concern to UNICEF is the impact of this disaster on education throughout the region. Close to 1,000 schools were reported destroyed or damaged in the affected countries, half of them in Mexico alone. In Mexico, UNICEF's initial response has been to send 6,000 school kits worth approximately $150,000 for distribution to affected schools in the State of Chiapas, where it has ongoing programmes.

Recreation kits are being prepared to send to children in shelters. UNICEF is working with national and local education authorities across the region to make sure that children can complete the school year - in schools, shelters or other temporary facilities.
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