Joint statement by:
- Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs - Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict - Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization - Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme - Antonio Guterres, High Commissioner for Refugees - Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General, UNRWA - Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF - Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict
As Syria crisis enters fifth year, more support urged for young adolescents
New York/Amman, 12 March 2015. Some 14 million children across the region are now suffering from the escalating conflict sweeping Syria and much of Iraq, said UNICEF today.
• In response to the harsh weather conditions at the end of December UNICEF emergency teams distributed winter clothing, blankets, heating supplies, cash and vouchers to 916,000 children in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey of the 1.3 million targeted. Since January 11th, UNICEF has provided additional winter support to just under 105,000 beneficiaries bringing the total to 1,020,825 beneficiaries reached since the start of the cold.
· Across the region, UNICEF vaccinated over 25 million children against polio including 2.9 million children in Syria alone resulting in the successful containment of the disease.
· UNICEF and partners provided water treatment chemicals to clean water for the network that reached 16.5 million people inside Syria, and has provided 2.1 million people with safe drinking water in host communities and camps in neighbouring countries
In Egypt, 97,312 beneficiaries were reached with food assistance in November, with more than USD 2.7 million injected into the local economy through food vouchers during the month.
Distribution of food assistance across the region was carried out as planned, without the reductions in voucher values or beneficiaries expected as a result of funding shortages.
The numbers of conflict-affected people in Syria have increased twelve fold since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, with 12.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 5.6 million children as of December 2014, making it the largest displacement crisis globally. Almost half of all Syrians have been forced to leave their homes, many suffering secondary or multiple displacements. Over 7.6 million people are displaced within Syria, and their coping mechanisms as well as those of host communities are all but exhausted.
Polio experts cautiously optimistic, but warn that disease could make renewed comeback
BEIRUT, 27 January 2015 - A 12-month emergency immunization response across the Middle East appears to have halted an outbreak of polio that began in Syria and Iraq, according to health experts meeting in Beirut.
GENEVA/AMMAN, 13 January 2015 – Amidst the harshest conditions of the winter so far, UNICEF has delivered warm clothing, blankets, heating supplies, cash and vouchers to more than 900,000 children in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
As the Syria conflict nears the four-year mark, UNICEF estimates that at least 7 million internally displaced and refugee children are in desperate need of assistance. Many continue to live in unfinished buildings and inadequate shelters that expose them to sub-zero temperatures, heavy snow and strong winds.
This winter has brought harsh conditions including sub-zero temperatures, freezing rain and snow across Syria and countries hosting Syrian refugees, compounding the impact of the ongoing conflicts and displacement on vulnerable children and their families. There are reports of child deaths in Syria and Lebanon, as well an increase in illnesses, such as upper respiratory tract infections, associated with exposure to cold temperatures.
IOM and UNICEF recently signed an agreement for the provision of a protective learning environment for internally displaced children in the governorate of Lattakia. IOM will in turn contribute 12 refurbished shipping containers that UNICEF will use as classrooms for the benefit of 1,000 displaced school children.
The UN estimates that 7.6 million are displaced inside Syria, of whom 3.5 million are children. Education provides a track of hope and support for children to re-build their lives even in displacement sites.
Geneva/Damascus, 6 January 2015 – Continuing conflict and the recent closure of some schools in Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zour governorates and parts of rural Aleppo in Syria is believed to have disrupted education for 670,000 children of primary and lower high school age, said UNICEF today.
"In addition to lack of school access, attacks on schools, teachers and students are further horrific reminders of the terrible price Syria’s children are paying in a crisis approaching its fifth year," said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF representative in Syria.
UNICEF 2015 Plan Highlights
• UNICEF will support the continued functionality of and treatment of water in water systems nationwide estimated to reach 16.55 million people through supply of chlorine and repair of water supply systems.
• Polio immunization campaigns will continue nationwide, with 3 national campaigns planned in the first semester of 2015, with further campaigns to be conducted if needed.