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Saturday, 8 January, 2005

How to protect children in the tsunami zone

Measures to protect children in the tsunami zone from exploitation, abuse, and criminal trafficking are needed immediately to prevent them from slipping between the cracks, UNICEF said today, outlining the key steps essential to protecting orphans and other vulnerable children. The good news is that most of the needed efforts are already underway, said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. But we have to move fast, she added. Those who would prey upon children in this chaotic environment are already at work.

UNICEF said the most vulnerable of the Tsunami Generation are those who have lost their parents or have been separated from their families. While no reliable figures yet exist, estimates based on the numbers of dead and displaced suggest there may be thousands of children across the region who fall into these categories. Surveys now underway will help identify the scope of the issue in the next week or so.

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