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Clay Aiken spends Christmas visiting flood victims with UNICEF

UPI News Service, 12/26/2007 

Recording artist and UNICEF ambassador Clay Aiken spent Christmas with his mother and brother visiting flood victims in southeast Mexico.

UNICEF said Aiken participated in a gift exchange and sing-along with more than 300 children and their families at a camp erected for flood victims in the city of Ostuacan Tuesday.

Aiken, his mother and brother, a Marine on leave from Iraq, will also be part of a UNICEF delegation scheduled to visit the state of Tabasco this week.

"The situation in Chiapas and Tabasco has really become a forgotten emergency," Aiken said in a statement. "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."

Torrential rains in Tabasco and Chiapas in one weekend last month produced the worst flooding the region has seen in more than 50 years.

More than 1 million residents of the two states have been affected, one third of which are children, UNICEF said.

While the situation has been stabilized through the efforts of Mexico's government and U.N. agencies, thousands remain homeless and displaced.

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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