Syria/Iraq: Polio Outbreak - Oct 2013
On 28 Oct 2013, the Minister of Health of the Syrian Arab Republic announced that, after a 15-year absence, polio had returned to the Middle East. Thirteen cases were confirmed from Syria's Deir Al Zour province. The occurrence of an outbreak reflects declining immunization rates due to the severe interruption of public health services and to the conditions in which the people are living. A comprehensive outbreak response will need to be implemented across the region, with seven countries and territories to conduct mass polio vaccination campaigns targeting more than 22 million children aged under 5 years. (Strategic Plan for Polio Outbreak Response in the Middle East)
As of 8 Feb 2014, 17 confirmed polio cases had been reported from Syria's Deir ez-Zour Governorate, three from Aleppo Governorate, one from Al. Hasakeh Governorate and two from Idleb Governorate (WHO/UNICEF, 8 Feb 2014).
By 20 Mar, a total of 37 cases had been reported: 25 cases by the Syrian Arab Republic Ministry of Health, and 12 cases from contested areas (Aleppo, Edleb and Deir Al Zour) not yet reflected in official figures. The most recent case had onset of paralysis on 17 Dec 2013. Further evidence of regional spread was confirmed by notification of a case from Iraq, the first polio case in the country since 2000. The case, a six-month old boy from Baghdad who had not been immunized, developed paralysis on 10 Feb 2014. Genetic sequencing indicates the virus is most closely related to virus detected in the Syrian Arab Republic. (WHO, 21 Mar 2014)
By 8 Oct, three cases had been reported in the Middle East with onset of paralysis in 2014 - two in Iraq and one in Syria. The most recent case reported from Iraq occurred in Mada'in district, Baghdad-Resafa province, with onset of paralysis on 7 Apr. Syria’s most recent case had onset of paralysis on 21 Jan. The fact that six months had passed with no new cases being reported indicates that transmission of the virus has been interrupted. (Global Polio Eradication Initiative, 8 Oct 2014)
· In Syria, as part of the Back to Learning Campaign, UNICEF distributed essential learning supplies including schoolbags, textbooks and stationary to 428,315 children, including 5,732 textbooks to children living in a besieged area of Deir-Ez-Zour city. So far this year, UNICEF has distributed learning supplies to 578,000 children.
The humanitarian community now estimates that 13.5 million people in Syria need protection and humanitarian assistance, including 6 million children. 8.7 million people are unable to meet their basic food needs, and 70 per cent of the population lacks access to safe drinking water. Health facilities, schools, and other essential services across the country are operating at reduced capacity or closed. 6.5 million people are internally displaced in Syria due to the conflict
In response to persisting severe water shortages in Aleppo, UNICEF continued to truck 10,000 m3 of water per day, reaching 700,000 people, while continuing to develop alternative water supply modalities.
In the weeks following the reporting period, the Syria crisis has literally reached the shores of Europe. The majority of refugee families seeking asylum in Europe in the last months are from Syria. These families have made the difficult decision to take extreme action putting their lives at risk to reach safe haven. The refugee crisis in Europe will only worsen if greater efforts are not made to end the protracted conflict in Syria and address the humanitarian and longer term needs of the millions affected by the violence.
• Across the region, with the start of the school year approaching, UNICEF and partners are gearing up to support learning opportunities.
• In Syria, UNICEF is preparing for the launch of the Back to Learning (BTL) initiative 2015/2016. The BTL initiative aims to reach over 1 million children with education supplies and approximately 5.5 million community members with education messages via media campaign. Unique to this year’s campaign is the launching of the self-learning programme, which targets 315,000 out-of-school children this year.
· In Syria, access to humanitarian assistance for children in hard-to-reach areas continues to remain a significant challenge. The UN estimates that up to 2 million children are still not being reached due to deteriorating security, shifting frontlines, capacity limitations and administrative hurdles.
• In Syria, between 17 May and 28 May 2015, more than 305,600 children wrote the grade 9 national exam, across 2,310 schools or centers countrywide.
• In Jordan, through UNICEF partners the Makani-My Space integrated approach, offering alternative education, psychosocial support services and life skills training has been implemented in 145 locations nationwide targeting vulnerable children and youth.
In Syria, the thirteenth national polio immunization campaign was carried out by the Ministry of Health with support from UNICEF and WHO from 22 to 26 March 2015 reaching 2,426,244 children under the age of five nationwide.
• In Syria, the 10th national polio vaccination campaign was carried out from 15-19 February, 2015. 2,989,659 children under five were vaccinated against polio including over 60,000 children in hard to reach areas, and 1,790 children reached for the first time in Homs, Dara’a, Damascus, Rural Damascus, Lattakia, Deir Ezzor and Qunietra.
• In Iraq, since January 2015, 92,787 Syrian refugees were able to access to safe drinking water in the camps, mostly through sustainable water systems.
UNICEF sector leads in WASH, Education, Nutrition and Child Protection Working Group provided leadership in developing the 2015 Strategic Response Plan (SRP) for Syria which will officially be launched in December 2014. The humanitarian response articulated in SRP is within the framework of the Whole of Syria approach, which is bringing together humanitarian actors working from inside Syria or neighbouring countries for the first time, aimed at increasing the overall effectiveness of the response.
NEW YORK/GENÈVE, 8 décembre 2014 – Pour des millions d’enfants, l’année 2014 aura été marquée par la peur, le désespoir et l’horreur, à cause des conflits de plus en plus graves au cours desquels ils ont été exposés à une violence extrême et à ses conséquences, ils ont été recrutés de force et ils ont été pris expressément en cible par des groupes armés, a affirmé l’UNICEF aujourd’hui.
Heightened insecurity in northern Syria has resulted in fresh displacement of Syrian refugees into Turkey and Iraq, as well as internal displacement inside Syria. The insecurity has impacted on the humanitarian situation in northern Syria, limiting access. Meanwhile the Syrian civil war continues unabated, as witnessed by explosions near two elementary schools in Homs city on 1st October killing 29 children and injuring 37 more.
Une quantité record de matériel d’urgence acheminée pour les enfants piégés dans un nombre record de crises
COPENHAGUE/GENÈVE/NEW YORK, 26 août 2014– Au cours de ce seul mois d’août, l’UNICEF a expédié 1 000 tonnes de fournitures d’urgence aux enfants pris dans les crises les plus urgentes du monde – ce qui constitue la plus grande opération d'urgence jamais menée par l'organisation en un seul mois. La quantité livrée représente l’équivalent de 19 avions cargos gros porteurs.
Record amount of emergency aid delivered to children caught in record number of crises
COPENHAGEN/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 26 August 2014 – This August UNICEF shipped 1,000 metric tonnes of life-saving supplies for children caught in the world’s most urgent crises -- the largest emergency supply operation in the organization’s history in a single month. The amount delivered would fill 19 cargo jumbo jets.
Mass global action needed to protect children against polio in Syria, Iraq and region
38 confirmed polio cases with 765,000 Syrian children in hard-to-reach areas
Amman/ Cairo, 22 July 2014 – In a report released today, WHO and UNICEF announced completion of the first phase of the biggest polio vaccination campaign ever undertaken in the history of the Middle East. Twenty-five million children under the age of five were reached in seven countries in 37 rounds.
1,500,000 Syrian refugees
1,500,000 Affected Lebanese
55,000 Palestine refugees from Syria
50,000 Lebanese returnees
Consequences of Underfunding
With a 50% reduction in funding, many refugees and vulnerable Lebanese will be forced to resort to harmful behaviour to survive, such as child labour, survival sex, early marriage, skipping meals and begging.
The UNICEF team in Homs, together with sister UN agencies and SARC, is providing assistance to over 500 children evacuated from Old City– including warm winter clothes, psychosocial support and primary healthcare, as well as sanitation facilities within the shelter. Over 400 children have been vaccinated, including against polio – a service not available in the Old City.
· As winter storms hit across the region, UNICEF and partners accelerated efforts to provide winter items to vulnerable children:
The “WHO/UNICEF Strategic Plan for Polio Outbreak Response in the Middle East” outlines the specific actions that will need to be implemented across the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and the West Bank and Gaza Strip in response to the circulation of wild poliovirus (WPV) following importation. Successful implementation of all activities will meet the stated objective of the plan: to stop this outbreak by the end of March 2014.