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Papua New Guinea children's lives in danger a month after quake, says UNICEF

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Staff Writer | March 27, 2018
One month after a powerful earthquake hit Papua New Guinea, the United Nations warned of children being endangered as access to the affected remote and isolated villages remains a huge challenge.
Papua New Guinea children
Pacific   A volatile seismic fault system
"Children's lives are in danger," said Karen Allen, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Representative for the country. "With limited access to basic necessities, families are struggling to survive in crowded shelters, or to rebuild homes and food gardens."

Last week alone, UNICEF delivered 23 metric tons of relief supplies to the nation, including tents and tarpaulins, water purification tablets, hygiene kits, blankets and learning kits.

According to the Government, an estimated 270,000 people are still in need of urgent assistance, including 125,000 children, in the wake of a 7.5-magnitude earthquake on Feb. 26 that killed at least 100 people and injured many more in landslides and collapsing houses across four remote provinces of the Pacific island nation.

UNICEF has already delivered 12,000 packets of therapeutic food and enough vaccines to protect 31,700 children against the increasing risk of disease outbreak and malnutrition.

Papua New Guinea already had low vaccination coverage and the world's fourth highest rate of chronically malnourished children, according to the UN agency.

UNICEF said that it needs 14.6 million U.S. dollars to provide humanitarian assistance to children and families affected by the earthquake over the next nine months.

The island, on a volatile seismic fault system, has been experiencing a spark of activity, with the latest strike by a 6.6-magnitude quake several hours ago, according to media reports.