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Italy donates $1 million to UNICEF efforts for children in DR of Congo

Italy donates $1 million to UNICEF efforts for children in DR of Congo

The Government of Italy today pledged support for the children of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a donation of approximately $1 million to UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund.

In a statement issued today in New York, UNICEF said the donation coincided with the visit of the agency's Executive Director, Carol Bellamy, who arrives in DRC this week to take part in a series of National Immunization Days. "The Italian Government has shown, once again, its determination to channel resources to children in the greatest need," Ms. Bellamy said, lauding the donation.

According to UNICEF, part of the donation will support the revitalization of the country's inadequate primary health services. "Support for the health services in Democratic Republic of Congo is absolutely critical at this time," Ms. Bellamy said. "Around 70 per cent of people are thought to have little or no access to health care. But the health network is still in place and this, combined with the dedication of the country's health workers, provides a foundation for the rebuilding of the primary health system. The Italian contribution will assist in this rebuilding."

Italian funds will also provide support for the most vulnerable displaced and refugee children and women. Over 2 million people have been uprooted from their homes in DRC as a result of conflict, the vast majority of them women and children. UNICEF is responding with a range of services, including educational support for around 50,000 displaced children due to start the school year in September.

UNICEF is appealing for a total of $15 million as part of this year's Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for DRC. The Italian contribution brings the total received to $8 million.

In other news, the Italian Government has also announced additional support to UNICEF's global work by adding approximately $2 million to its current year contribution to UNICEF's core funding, also known as "regular resources."

"Regular resources provide the seed money for our work and ensure that it can be sustained," Ms. Bellamy said. "They give UNICEF staying power, and are a benchmark of long-term commitment to children's rights - a commitment demonstrated by the Government of Italy with this increased contribution."