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GreekReporter.comGreeceNana Mouskouri to Visit Refugee and Migrant Children of Greece

Nana Mouskouri to Visit Refugee and Migrant Children of Greece

On 26 February, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Nana Mouskouri, seated at a student’s desk in a classroom, smiles during her visit to a public primary school in Ampangabe Village in Analamanga Region. From 24 to 28 February 2015, internationally acclaimed singer, humanitarian and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Nana Mouskouri visited Madagascar to review UNICEF-supported programmes and to draw added attention to the considerable challenges and constraints faced by the country’s vulnerable children and families. Madagascar is slowly emerging from a protracted and debilitating political crisis and the ensuing economic decline. The country remains one of the world’s poorest: 91 per cent of the population live on less than US $2.00 a day, and many of the poorest are children – who have been hardest hit in the crisis and live in extreme poverty. The crisis also resulted in a decrease in public investment in social sectors, weakening further the delivery of basic social services, as well as access to, and use of, these vital services. The health, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sectors have seen significant declines. Madagascar is ranked as the fourth-worst country in the world in terms of access to safe drinking water, and eight from last in access to sanitation. Only half of the overall population and 35 per cent of the rural population have access to improved water sources, with 38 per cent of people in rural areas relying on surface water for drinking; and just 14 per cent of the population has access to improved sanitation facilities. Nearly half (47 per cent) of all children under age 5 are stunted – the fourth-highest rate in the world; and maternal mortality remains very high, at 500 per 100,000 live births. The country is also no longer on track to achieve universal primary-school education. The net primary enrolment rate has decreased (from 83 per cent in 2005 to 69 per cent in 2012), and about 1.5 million school-age children are currently
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Nana Mouskouri, acclaimed singer and humanitarian, is the latest in a round of celebrities to focus on Greece this week. She will accompany UNICEF Central and Eastern Europe Regional Director Marie-Pierre Poirier on a four-day visit that studies the impact of the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis in Europe and ways of alleviating its impact on children.
The two UNICEF officials will witness the work that is being done to help refugee and migrant children and their families in Athens and Piraeus. “The extraordinary resolve shown by ordinary Greek people, the government and civil society in helping thousands of refugees and migrants must be saluted,” said Poirier ahead of her visit, adding that Greece “cannot do it alone.” Poirier pledged that UNICEF would scale up its response together with the government, local humanitarian partners and other UN agencies to provide more support for children.
22,000 children are estimated to be among the 55,000 migrants and refugees stranded in Greece and hosted in 35 camps and other venues on mainland Greece and the islands.

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