Last update: 5:38 p.m. EDT Sept. 18, 2008
TORONTO, ONTARIO, Sep 18, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- UNICEF Canada President and CEO Nigel Fisher will travel to Haiti from Friday, September 19 to Tuesday, September 23. Fisher will visit some of the areas of the country most severely impacted by recent back-to-back hurricanes, assess the immediate needs of children and families, and see firsthand UNICEF's emergency response. Last week, UNICEF Canada launched an emergency appeal to assist children and communities in Haiti affected by the devastating storms.
"The flooding and destruction in Haiti are tremendous" says Fisher. "A vast majority of the population was already facing extreme hardship before the hurricanes. Now we are deeply concerned about children and families who have been dealt another disastrous blow with four hurricanes in a row."
Fisher, a former director of UNICEF's global emergency operations, will visit the towns of Gonaives, Jacmel and Cabaret, and the neighbourhood of Cite-Soleil in Port-au-Prince. While in Haiti, he will also join UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow to bring attention to the need for emergency assistance for Haitian children and communities, and how concerned people can help.
UNICEF has responded immediately to assist in the wake of the hurricanes. It has airlifted 11.5 tons of emergency supplies to Haiti, including water-purification tablets, hygiene kits, blankets, oral rehydration salts and other items to distribute to those impacted by the hurricanes and flooding. An estimated 800,000 people are in need of immediate emergency assistance, including 300,000 children.
"Haiti is the most impoverished country in our hemisphere. Its children are highly vulnerable to unforeseen shocks such as we have witnessed in recent weeks," says Fisher. "UNICEF has been working in Haiti since 1949 to help save and improve children's lives. We are now asking all Canadians, at this critical time, to support our emergency relief efforts and help assist Haitian children and their families in these extremely difficult conditions."
Fisher will be available for selected interviews from Haiti, as well as before and after his visit. Upon his return, he will provide Canadians with an update on the situation in Haiti and on UNICEF's progress and immediate plans for the provision of emergency assistance.
To support UNICEF's emergency relief operations in Haiti, please visit www.unicef.ca or call 1-877-955-3111. UNICEF Canada raises funds for emergencies based on country needs. Should the total contributions exceed the funding needs for a certain emergency, the funds received will be reallocated to other UNICEF emergency programmes where the need is greatest.
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.