Posted on behalf of UNICEF UK:
UNICEF, the world's leading children’s organisation, has assembled teams of experts to fly into Tunisia and Egypt and another on standby for Libya as the agency today launches the Libya Crisis Children's Appeal for £4.5 million (US$7.2 million) to meet humanitarian needs of women and children in all three countries over the coming months.
‘We are expecting the number of refugees to climb into the hundreds of thousands if the unrest continues. We are very concerned for children and their families and are launching the Libya Crisis Children’s Appeal for £4.5 million to help them,’ says David Bull, Executive Director of UNICEF UK in London.
‘Critical facilities such as clinics and hospitals are not open for a variety of reasons, food supply routes have been disrupted and Libyan children and their families are facing a potential humanitarian crisis’.
Up to 100,000 people have so far fled unrest in Libya.
Immediate concerns for children include child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, and health and nutrition.
In Tunisia, the immediate priority will be to provide water, sanitation and hygiene services to the people who have already crossed the border.
In Tunisia and Egypt, UNICEF’s child protection work includes psychosocial support and family tracing and reunification efforts in anticipation of increasing numbers of unaccompanied or separated children.
As soon as the security situation in Libya allows UNICEF will deploy a core response team whose initial focus will be around child protection and psychosocial support, water, sanitation, hygiene nutrition and emergency health care.
Donations to the UNICEF Libya Crisis Children's Appeal can be made by telephoning 0800 037 9797 or via UNICEF's website www.unicef.org.uk.
Last week I wandered into Pret a Manger, picked up a cheese and pickle sandwich only to read that it contained 600 calories. Put off by the fact that the price tag was also telling me the calorie count, I put it back and went across the road to Costa Coffee. There I had a cheese toastie and a slice of cake. Total calorie count: likely to be well over 1000.
There was no label shouting the calorie count of my meal at me, so I didn’t know the precise amount and, quite frankly, and I didn’t care. I enjoyed my meal without fretting over calories, fat content and everything else that food labelling in restaurants and takeaways seems to be telling us.
I’m quite sensible, on the whole. I know what a healthy balanced diet is, thanks very much. So if I want to eat a slice of cake or a sandwich with cheese I will and I’ll balance it out with healthier alternatives during the rest of the week. I don’t need to know the calories because I know about food and sensible food choices. Everything in moderation, as they say.
I am also passing on information about healthy eating to my daughter, so I don’t believe she needs to see calorie counts on food either.
Writing in the Times today, Health Correspondent Chris Smith, reports that “fast-food and takeaway outlets will show calorie counts on their menus under a government-brokered deal that could become standard across the restaurant industry. Parents’ groups have welcomed this announcement, which they said would give consumers more control over their children’s diets.”
I am already aware that a McDonalds Big Mac and a Pizza Hut stuffed-crust pizza are high in calories. I think most parents are. Fast-food and takeaway meals are high calorie, as are restaurant meals, but they are an occasional treat. I want to enjoy a meal out, but putting the calorie count on the menu would ruin that.
The idea of calorie labelling is, of course, all part of the government’s anti-obesity drive. Yet as most meals are eaten inside the home, I’d rather educate my daughter about healthy eating and a balanced diet rather than talking to her about calories.
The move will help some of course but there are other children who could get hung up on the idea of calories in food, and food is supposed to be something we enjoy. Life becomes pretty miserable when we don’t.
My last post looked at UNICEF's role in taking healthcare to remote Haitian villages. This post is a continuation and looks at UNICEF's commitment to establishing education facilities in these regions, offering hope to the most vulnerable children affected by last year's earthquake.
At the nearby Communal School also operated by Sister Benedicte and her religious order, the Fraternite Notre Dame Mission, and also supported by UNICEF, 17-year-old Darline remembers the earthquake.
“We lost our home here in Jaquot on the day of the earthquake, but nobody was killed or injured in my family,” she says. “In Port-au-Prince it was horrible, just horrible.”
Her school was destroyed and has been rebuilt. But Darline was affected by the earthquake in less visible ways. “I don’t work as well as I should at school since the earthquake, I can’t concentrate and I’m scared all the time,” she confides.
In the mountain village of Jaquot, north of Port-au-Prince, healthcare and education facilities were until recently non existent. Twelve months after the earthquake that devastated this tiny Caribbean nation, local residents now have both.
Sister Marie Benedicte has seen the changes a school and clinic have made in her community. She is not only the administrator of the local community school but also a medical doctor and runs the only clinic for Jaquot’s 8,000 inhabitants and others living nearby.