GENEROUS readers of the Lancashire Evening Telegraph raised £13,000 in just four days to help young victims of the floods in Mozambique.

The cash has been stacking up since the we joined forces with international aid agency UNICEF to launch a fundraising appeal on Thursday.

By Saturday, £2,196 had been sent in by post and another £2,000 had been donated by credit card on the appeal telephone line.

Another £3,230 was received at UNICEF offices today from people who had completed our coupon.

And officials revealed that another £5,564 in credit card donations over the weekend had taken the total to just under £13,000.

Regional officer for UNICEF, Kim Bohajcuk, said the response had been simply "fantastic".

She added: "This means that people have reacted as soon as they read about the appeal in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph and sent money immediately."

UNICEF has been working in Mozambique since the start of the flood disaster last month and has not been caught up in the red tape which has plagued other emergency relief efforts.

Kim added: "The response has exceeded our expectations and the people of East Lancashire can be assured that their money will be used to help the children of Mozambique this week. I am hoping to send thankyou letters to everyone who has filled in coupons." UNICEF field staff in Mozambique say around 180,000 children under the age of five are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. More than 40,000 children have been forced to leave their home areas in search of safety.

The organisation is distributing jerrycans for the storage of clean drinking water, soap and syringes for a mass immunisation programme, as well as medicine, water purification tablets and 10,000 mosquito nets to help reduce the risk of malaria.

Large tents to use as temporary health centres and vehicles to distribute supplies have also been provided.

UNICEF's emergency co-ordinator in Mozambique, Ian McLeod, said: "We have a particular concern about the incidence of malaria at present. At the moment, cases of malaria are running at four times the normal rate for this time of year. "Diarrhoeal disease is also on the increase and I can tell you that we are now seeing children begin to die from these conditions. We must continue our efforts to prevent the number of deaths from increasing.

"We know from experience of disasters elsewhere that we have just 2-4 days to get clean water, food and medicine to the flood victims to try to prevent epidemics."

The arrival of Cyclone Gloria in Madagascar, which has led to flooding affecting some 600,000 people on the island, has led to UNICEF stepping up its activity in Southern Africa to help all those in need.

If you want to donate money simply complete the coupon on page five and return it to UNICEF, PO Box 70, Hazel Grove, SK7 6FU, or ring free on 0345 312312 to make a card donation. To request a fundraising pack contact Kim on 0161 483 2147.

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