The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched an emergency appeal to donors for relief supplies for victims of the massive earthquake that struck Algeria last week, killing more than 2,000 people and injuring 9,000 others.
UNICEF already sent a first consignment of emergency supplies on Saturday. The 15-ton consignment, valued at $120,000, included four emergency health kits, five field hospital tents, obstetric kits, recreation kits and baby blankets, covering basic emergency medical needs for a population of 40,000 for three months.
“This was only a first reaction. We do believe that the children of the area will require further support for weeks, maybe months,” said the UNICEF Representative in Algeria, Kiari Liman-Tinguiri.
The flash appeal for $240,000 will fund the procurement of additional supplies to tackle existing needs, including family and infant hygiene kits, oral rehydration salts, first-aid kits, water purification units and chemicals, water storage equipment, additional recreation kits and sport items for children.
“There is an overwhelming need for temporary shelter for families whose homes have been destroyed and for those unable to return to their homes,” Mr. Liman-Tinguiri said. “Lack of alternative accommodation or tents has forced most of the affected population to stay outside their homes in makeshift tents, while hundred of families simply sleep outside.”
Health services have been severely affected as infrastructure and equipment was damaged or destroyed. In Thenia, the city hospital was hard hit by the quake – 80 per cent of the hospital wards have been destroyed or are unusable, including the emergency ward and other key wards such as the surgery block, the maternity and paediatric wards.
Another serious problem is the damage to water and sanitation networks, as well as limited electricity provision.