Tuesday, December 25, 2007

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken & Family Celebrate Christmas With Survivors of Mexico's Floods

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken celebrates Christmas at a flood shelter with the children of Ostuacan, Chiapas.

Photo courtesy US Fund for UNICEF

Last month, in the wake of Hurricane Noel, the states of Chiapas and Tabasco, Mexico suffered extensive flooding, forcing one million people from their homes. Many remain homeless and are living in UNICEF supplied shelters.

Here's your chance to share the holiday spirit with children and families waiting to return to their homes and schools.

Help Clay Aiken and UNICEF raise $100,000 by December 31 to help the children of Mexico!

In just four days, UNICEF supporters and fans of Clay Aiken have raised $44,000 toward this goal. In the spirit of the season, please do your part to help raise $100,000 to support recovery for the children and families of Chiapas and Tabasco.

In his Fieldnotes blog at the US Fund of UNICEF, Clay wrote:

Merry Christmas to all from Mexico!

I couldn’t be happier than to be with my family and UNICEF in Mexico sharing the Christmas holiday with the people of Chiapas and Tabasco who have suffered such tragedy.

They have lost so much... but they have an unbelievable spirit and contagious joy. This is the holiday season and the spirit of family and giving is alive and well here.

As upbeat and positive as the people are they still need our help. There is much to do to reconstruct their village and get their lives back to normal. Thank you on behalf of myself, UNICEF and the people of Chiapas for your generous donations… and if you haven’t already, please consider opening your heart to these wonderful people who have opened their hearts and homes to me.

Read the full blog HERE.

Here is an excerpt from this morning's news article on PR Newswire:

CHIAPAS, Mexico, Dec. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- UNICEF Ambassador and critically acclaimed recording artist Clay Aiken today wrapped up the first leg of his trip to the flood affected areas of southeast Mexico by participating in a gift exchange and "sing along" with over 300 children and their families at a camp erected for flood victims.

Aiken, who is traveling in the region with his mother and younger brother, a Marine on leave from Iraq, will also be part of a UNICEF delegation scheduled to visit the state of Tabasco over the next two days.

"The situation in Chiapas and Tabasco has really become a forgotten emergency," said the U.S. pop star who became an ambassador for the children's agency in 2004. "Telling the story of these brave people, especially the children, to a U.S. audience is the reason that I am here. Sharing this experience with my family during this time of year makes it even more special."

In one weekend last month torrential rains in Tabasco and Chiapas produced the worst flooding the region has seen in more than 50 years. More than one million residents of the two states have been affected, one third of which are children.

While an integrated humanitarian response lead by government and U.N. agencies has stabilized the emergency in Mexico, thousands remain homeless and displaced. According to UNICEF officials in the region, children are the most vulnerable in these situations. Hundreds of them are at risk of psychological trauma and many more are out of school due to extensive structural damage to school buildings.

Today's event, also attended by Hon. Isabel Aguilera de Sabines, First Lady of the state of Chiapas, was held in the city of Ostuacan where 19 deaths were recently reported after a series of mudslides engulfed the small mountain community of Juan de Grijalva and the search for six missing residents is ongoing.

Clay Aiken's $100,000 UNICEF challenge. Raise $100,000 by December 31 to help the children of Mexico!

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