UNICEF and its partners in Haiti have started tracing and registering children who are separated or unaccompanied to protect them from exploitation.
“We are aiming to have all children under the age of five in a safe place and properly fed by this weekend,” says UNICEF spokesman Michael Newsome.
“We have child protection teams visiting orphanages in Port-au-Prince and registering displaced children. Police child brigades are working throughout the city, at the airport and at the border with the Dominican Republic to prevent unauthorised departure of minors,” he adds.
UNICEF, which leads on water and sanitation in this emergency, has also expanded water distribution.
“UNICEF and our partners are now supplying 755,000 litres per day to 151,000 people. This does not include existing bottled water distribution to institutions and communities which include 7,000 bottles of water to three hospitals, two orphan centres and a police station benefiting 2,000 people,” says Newsome.
The Water and Sanitation Team is anlaysing new water sources and logistics capacities to improve coverage.
UNICEF is also concerned about sanitation which if left unchecked can lead to an outbreak of disease. It has set up banks of latrines at four sites and has applied to the Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive for permission to build more latrines in areas which are densely populated. Together with DINEPA, the national water company in the Petionville municipality, UNICEF has prioritised 14 areas which have a total population of 49,500.
“UNICEF has the benefit of a large supply division, based in Copenhagen, which purchases humanitarian supplies from around the world and ship to Haiti. They have already purchased water supplies and water purification tablets from British suppliers and has commissioned a company in the Dominican Republic to produce Plumpy’Nut, a high protein paste that can save the lives of malnourished children,” Newsome adds.
Five UNICEF plane-loads of supplies have arrived to date and another five flights are on the way carrying tents, water, sanitation, health and nutrition supplies.
UNICEF Ireland is appealing for funds for its emergency work in Haiti.
Donate online to UNICEF's Haiti Earthquake Children's Appeal