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UNICEF Asks for $20 Million to Help Children Affected by Pakistani Earthquake

The United Nations children's fund, UNICEF, has appealed for an initial $20 million to provide emergency relief to children and families affected by the Pakistan earthquake.

The agency says that almost one in every five people in the affected area is a child under the age five, and nearly half are younger than 18.

Many of the victims were schoolchildren just starting the day's lessons when the quake struck.

UNICEF's Executive Director Ann M. Veneman says the appeal means immediate action to save children's lives. She said needed assistance includes medical care, clean water, nutritional food for infants, clothing and shelter.

UNICEF says it has begun moving additional staff and supplies into Pakistan from its regional offices. It says that, in addition, it is providing logistics and supplies for the frontline Pakistani surgical teams being dropped by helicopters into the most remote areas.