The Myanmar cyclone and the China earthquake. It’s very unusual for two natural disasters of such massive scale to occur within such a small window of time. Luckily, UNICEF is used to dealing with more than one emergency at once, while also ensuring that none of the ongoing programs in more than 150 countries where we work in suffer. I guess you could say we’re very good at multi-tasking on a global level.
||© UNICEF/ HQ96-0110/Giacomo Pirozzi
||This photo, taken during a different trip, shows an Angolan boy in a UNICEF-assisted center for children orphaned by the war.
Adam Fifield is visiting UNICEF programs in Angola and Swaziland and phoned in this dispatch.
Greetings from Angola. I arrived here early Sunday morning as part of a U.S. Fund for UNICEF group visiting this captivating, yet struggling, country on Africa’s southwest coast.
Angola is a nation of stark contrasts. After 40 years of war, and only six years of peace, this former Portuguese colony now has the second fastest growing economy in all of Africa, and a wealth of natural resources including oil and diamonds. But the majority of Angola’s estimated 18 million people have been left out of the country’s new prosperity, with 62 percent living on less than two dollars a day. The child mortality rate is staggering
Faced with one of the country’s worst economic crisis in history, Uruguay is struggling to provide their children with a good education. Many rural schools are in tatters, with few books and scant schools supplies. Current school drop-out rates top 40 percent in some communities.
To turn the spotlight on this issue, the creative staff at UNICEF in Uruguay grabbed the media’s attention this past winter by organizing a cross-country horseback trek to visit rural schools. Why on horseback? Because it’s the traditional way many countryside children travel to school in Uruguay.