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New Zealand helps flood-hit Fijian schools resume classes

04-10-2012 15:06 BJT

WELLINGTON, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Aid workers in New Zealand are stepping up efforts to resume classes in the Pacific island nation of Fiji as schools reopen after the devastating flooding of last two weeks.

The flooding had displaced more than 14,000 people, including 5, 000 children, from their homes, said a statement from UNICEF New Zealand Tuesday.

Water and electricity shortages across the Western Division of the capital, Suva, were making it difficult for families to maintain adequate hygiene and were increasing risk of the leptospirosis bacterial infection, diarrhea and typhoid, said the statement.

UNICEF would be distributing water and sanitation kits in " school in a box" packages as the schools began to reopen Tuesday after being closed for more than a week due to flood damage.

"We want families to get back to their normal lives as soon possible," Dennis McKinlay, executive director of UNICEF New Zealand, said in the statement.

"Of particular concern is the continued loss of teaching and learning hours of students, many of which had already lost class time with the flooding in January, therefore it is important that we assist schools to reopen as soon as possible."

The "school in a box" and recreation and early childhood kits being distributed to schools would also contain a blackboard, pencils, exercise books and crayons to re-establish each school's learning resources, said the statement.

UNICEF New Zealand was monitoring the situation in Fiji and responding to concerns over access to clean water for both drinking and bathing.

UNICEF, with the Fiji Red Cross, was disturbing water and sanitation kits to families in need, including 1,000 that have been delivered over the weekend.

The New Zealand government has given a total of 1.25 million NZ dollars (1.03 million U.S. dollars) to help with flood relief in Fiji.

The death toll from the floods is reported to be at least seven.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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