NEW YORK, 29 January 2001 - UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund) is
committed to providing at least $8 million in immediate assistance for the earthquake-stricken
Indian state of Gujarat, where the relief effort is now focusing on helping
families who survived the quake survive its aftermath. As the death toll from
the quake exceeds 20,000, according to official estimates, the needs of survivors
are growing daily. At least 100,000 people are believed to be in need of immediate
relief including water, food, shelter, and protection from disease. UNICEF staff
on the ground said electricity was limited in many hard-hit areas, and reported
urgent needs for blankets, tents and drinking water. UNICEF has committed itself
to providing at least $8 million in new aid, including $2 million for family
survival kits and nearly $5 million for medical supplies and the provision of
safe water. Also in the immediate term, UNICEF expects to spend at least $2
million for schools and teaching supplies, supporting government efforts to
focus on education as a way of helping children cope with the disaster. On Sunday
UNICEF delivered $100,000 in medical supplies to Gujarat, including critical
drugs. An additional $600,000 in basic medical supplies is on the way. Earlier
in the weekend UNICEF delivered tens of thousands of blankets, about a million
chlorine tablets for purifying water, and plastic sheeting for temporary shelter.
Since early Sunday morning UNICEF staff based in Gujarat have been conducting
a rapid needs assessment throughout the State. The UNICEF staff is teaming with
representatives from the World Health Organization, the UN Population Fund,
and the UN Disaster Management Team to conducts the sweeps through the hardest
hit areas. The teams have completed two full days in the field and will continue
through Wednesday. Preliminary estimates of basic needs - shelter, medicines,
water, sanitation, as well as the loss of schools - should be available Thursday.
UNICEF said these actions were just the beginning of its support for the relief
effort. Over the next two weeks UNICEF will also be working closely with state
and national officials to sustain immunization coverage and provide trauma-counseling
training to teachers and others who work closely with children.
UNICEF said its family survival kit - produced locally in India - cost about $43 apiece, providing displaced families with critical items such as: § cooking utensils § blankets § clothing (dhoti, saree, lungi, children's garments, etc.) § oral re-hydration salts to fight diarrhea § chlorine tablets to purify water § soaps, bucket, and other hygiene items § candles and kerosene lanterns UNICEF emphasized that Gujarat has suffered from severe drought conditions over the past two years, meaning water supplies are already tight. A drought mitigation and drought-proofing program that had been prepared the state authorities with the assistance of UNICEF and other agencies in recent weeks will be accelerated as part of the quake relief effort. Safe water and sanitation systems will be essential in the coming days to prevent the spread of disease. UNICEF is presently basing its operations from the UNICEF office in the state capital of Gandhinagar, about 25 miles north of Ahmadabad. About 15 UNICEF staff members and their families are presently sheltering in the office. To find out more information about how to help the victims in the India earthquake, please call 1-800-FOR-KIDS or visit the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's website at www.unicefusa.org.
FAIRFIELD, IA, US – January 14, 2001- Parivarmag.com was launched today. Parivarmag.com is a free family Ezine for Indian families in India and abroad. It features news, articles, information and entertainment for the whole family. The site does not contain any adult or violent content and will be a place, where all the members of a family can come for some good content to read. The Ezine will be updated fortnightly (Once in every two weeks). There are five sections in the website for Men, Women, Kids, Teens and one is the general section with content relevant to all the members of the family. There is also a news links section in the website, which will be updated daily. Most of the content of the Ezine will be contributed by the readers themselves. Parivarmag.com will provide a platform, where people can share information, views and opinions on topics relevant to specific units of the family. Parivarmag.com is located in Fairfield, Iowa, USA.
The first online reprint(second issue) of the internet book by an Indian " Towards a Perfect Democracy - Alternatives" was released today. " Towards a Perfect Democracy - Alternatives" by Hemant Goswami had gained the distinction of being the first online book by an Indian to be published with its complete contents on the internet, when it was first published on August 8, 2000. The hardcopy version of the book was released in November 1999. The book received 78,753 hits between August 8, 2000 and January 24, 2001.Such an impressive number of hits for a work on political philosophy itself is an indication of the success of the book. The free availability of the book on the net is one of the reason for the large number of hits and online readers, agrees Mr. Hemant Goswami. The book is available free of cost on the net at www.onlineindiaweb.com with its complete contents. The book can be read online, printed through a printer or downloaded free of cost from the net. On questioning Mr. Hemant about the reason for providing the book free of cost on the net, he answered that 'most of the publishers are not interested to publish a book which speaks about social concern or political philosophy as such books are not run-through commercial success, so to avoid the trap of limited circulation and readership I decided in favour of internet publishing', he further said that 'the material and financial gain come secondary to me, the primary concern remains, the propagation of ideas and that the message reach the general public and the society for which it is targeted'. Beside being the first Indian book on the net, the book is an excellent work on Indian political scenario and positive alternatives to it. Hemant speaks without any reservation and fears in his book. Hemant in the book " Towards a Perfect Democracy - Alternatives" give some path breaking suggestions. he suggests that in a perfect form of democracy only those people should be allowed to contest who have an education of 15 years and at the same time all those people who have an education of less than 10th should be restricted from voting. He also suggest that there must not be any political parties or state governments, he further states that the upper house of the parliament in its present form too is useless and serves no objective. Readers can visit WWW.OnlineIndiaWeb.Com to read the second issue of the first Indian online book.
U.S. Fund for UNICEF Seeks Donations to Aid Victims
NEW YORK, January 27, 2001 - UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund) announced today it had mobilized more than $700,000 in immediate assistance for the earthquake-stricken Indian state of Gujarat, supporting the relief effort with critical medical supplies, blankets, chorine tablets and more. UNICEF's country team in India includes a group of 15 staff who are based in Gujarat, all of whom survived the quake and who are now working to provide emergency assistance on the ground. The UNICEF staff will be joined by representatives from the World Health Organization, the UN Population Fund and the UN Disaster Management Team to create five needs assessment units that will begin a rapid sweep through the state on Sunday. With top priority on supporting hospitals and caring for the injured and preventing the spread of disease, the UN teams will assess immediate needs in the areas of health, water and sanitation. Their second immediate priority will be to assess the impact of the quake on schools. The UNICEF staff in Gujarat has expertise in all these fields. "We are just beginning to see the scope of this disaster," said Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF. "The loss of life could be astounding - and the task of helping the survivors stay sheltered, safe, fed and protected from disease will require an enormous outpouring of support." UNICEF announced that it will provide $100,000 worth of life-saving medical supplies over the next 48 hours. An additional $600,000 of relief items are being procured for a second major delivery. UNICEF has already sent in an initial shipment of relief items from its offices elsewhere in India. The items include: § 10,000 survival kits for displaced families § 25,000 blankets § 1 million chlorine tablets to purify water § 50,000 sheets of plastic for temporary sheltering (more)
UNICEF RESPONDS TO INDIA QUAKE UNICEF said these commitments were just the beginning of its support for the relief effort. Over the next two weeks, UNICEF will also be working closely with state and national officials to sustain immunization coverage; help restart education if requested by the authorities; and provide trauma-counseling training to teachers and others who work closely with children. "Our experience with the Turkey earthquake taught us that even as we work to help save lives and meet basic needs, we also need to be planning for classrooms to be opened, child-friendly spaces to be established and other activities that help children cope with the disaster," Bellamy said. UNICEF said that finding safe, constructive activity for children not only helps them cope with and recover from disaster but gives their parents the peace of mind to focus on rebuilding efforts. The relief effort over the next two to three weeks will be a massive challenge, UNICEF said. Outside the major cities and towns, Gujarat state is primarily rural, with pockets of isolated populations that may be difficult to reach. The agency also noted that Gujarat has suffered from severe drought conditions over the past two years, meaning water supplies are already tight. UNICEF recently assisted the state government in preparing a drought mitigation and drought-proofing program that was to be implemented in the coming six months. That program will now be accelerated as part of the quake relief effort. Safe water and sanitation systems will be essential in the coming days to prevent the spread of disease. The UNICEF team is working closely with the state emergency authorities and with other agencies in the UN family, including UN Development Program and World Food Program. UNICEF is presently basing its operations in the UNICEF office in Gandhinagar, about 25 miles north of Ahmadabad, the commercial capital and most populous city in Gujarat. To find out more information about how to help the victims in the India earthquake, please call 1-800-FOR-KIDS or visit the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's website at http://www.unicefusa.org. Secure online donations towards UNICEF's relief efforts can be made directly at https://secure09.client-mail.com/support_indiaeq.htm
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