Syria refugee crisis requires urgent funding to scale up response for children -- UNICEF
AMMAN/GENEVA, 29 June 2012 – UNICEF urgently requires $14.4 million to meet the emergency needs of a growing number of Syrian refugee children and young people.
With 86,000 Syrians registered as refugees in four countries – 50 per cent of them children and young people – the revised UNHCR-led Syria Regional Response Plan estimates the refugee total will increase to as many as 185,000 people by December 2012.
Some 90,000 of those refugees will be children with specific needs whom UNICEF needs to reach by December with vaccines, education, protection services, clean water and sanitation. This is more than triple the initial number of targeted refugee children.
The revised response plan, released yesterday in Geneva at a meeting of the Syria Humanitarian Forum, outlines an expanded humanitarian response for Syrian refugee children and families in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.
UNICEF and its partners, including the governments and authorities in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, and NGOs on the ground, have responded effectively to deal with a fast-evolving situation. An estimated 30,000 vulnerable Syrian children in four countries have been reached with vital assistance to date.
In education, UNICEF helped children to integrate in public schools where feasible, as in Jordan, where they are granted free access. UNICEF is also assisting with remedial classes where needed, providing all vulnerable children with school bags, uniforms and other supplies. In Jordan alone, thanks to the support of the government, UNICEF has provided 16,500 children and other family members with education opportunities.
UNICEF has responded to the urgent protection needs of women and children by expanding the range of child-friendly spaces offering safe recreation, remedial education and life-skills training. Counselling and psychosocial support is provided through training health professionals and social workers. A broad network of social welfare centres in Lebanon and Jordan is strengthening referral and support mechanisms, and raising awareness of violence prevention and self defence.
In transit areas and host communities where refugees are concentrated, UNICEF has assisted over 7,000 vulnerable Syrians through water, sanitation, and hygiene services including hygiene promotion and solid waste management. As the cost of providing, transporting and storing safe water is high, and demand rises along with the summer temperatures, this is an area that urgently needs to be expanded.
UNICEF is extremely grateful for contributions received from donors and UNICEF National Committees to date. However, UNICEF is only 28 per cent funded (US$5,592,987) against its revised Syria Regional Response Plan total requirements of US$20,026,000. Having set the groundwork for delivering assistance in four countries, UNICEF is ready to scale up to support the most vulnerable Syrian refugees, particularly children.