• An international relief agency says children and families continue to suffer as the South Asia death toll rises from a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

    UNICEF Canada estimates one third of the reported 22,000 dead and missing are children and immediate action is required to save lives.

    The agency says thousands of coastal fishing communities where children and their families were already living below the poverty line, were most affected by the disaster.

    UNICEF's first priority throughout all affected countries is to provide clean water, emergency medicines, oral rehydration salts, high protein biscuits, shelter and other essential for survival. The risk of disease and death from lack of access to clean water and sanitation facilities in the aftermath of a natural disaster is extremely high, particularly for young children.

    Another urgent task is to reunite children who have been separated from their families and communities.

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