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)
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.
· 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
The humanitarian consequences of violence in Iraq have been catastrophic leaving some 5.2 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. As of December 2014, more than 2.2 million Iraqis are internally displaced (half of them children), 1.5 million host community members are vulnerable, and 1.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance remain inaccessible in areas under the control of armed groups. Ongoing conflict and violence, including targeting of minorities, continue to trigger new and secondary displacements.
UNICEF 2015 Plan Highlights
• The WASH programme will continue the transition from first-phase emergency services to more sustainable, and costeffective systems, and reinforcing WASH services in areas impacted by refugee influx.
• Health programmes will increase access to health care for refugee and impacted host population, including strengthening routine immunization and campaigns especially for polio which continues to threaten the region.
Statement by Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa on the Launch of the 2015 Strategic Response Plan for Syria (SRP) and the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) 2015-16
Amman, December 18, 2014: “The Syria crisis represents the biggest threat to children of recent times. By the end of 2015, the lives of over 8.6 million children across the region will have been torn apart by violence and forced displacement. That compares to a figure of 7 million just one month ago.
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.
40,000 people have been displaced within and from Anbar Governorate, during the recent increase in violence, with some suffering secondary and multiple displacements.
The ongoing insecurity is affecting the October/November wheat planting season and livestock herders, and while current nutritional assessments of IDPs show no signs of concern, a protracted crisis could lead to medium-term food insecurity, directly impacting the healthy development of a generation of young Iraqis.
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.
• 18,642 IDPs benefited from UNICEF’s Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) within last week. UNICEF’s partners NRC, Mercy Corps, DRC, Save the Children and ACTED distributed urgently needed relief items including bottled water, buckets, high-energy biscuits and hygiene kits to IDPs with immediate needs in targeted locations including Zakho, Daquq and Kirkuk Districts in Dahuk and Kirkuk Governorates.
During August 2014, experts from UNHCR and MoH continued to inspect the constructions of the 10 prefabricated health clinics, 2 of which are expected to be delivered in September 2014.
As the conflict in Syria continues unabated, there are now over 3 million refugees from Syria across Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. Over 50 per cent of the Syrian refugees are children.
The crisis in Iraq is compounding the humanitarian situation in neighboring countries. There are now 5,000 Iraqi refugees in a camp in Al-Hassakeh region in Syria, and 16,000 Iraqi refugees in the south-eastern Turkish province of Sirnak who require humanitarian assistance.
According to estimates of OCHA, over 1.8 million people are estimated to be displaced countrywide since January 2014.
After temporary disruption of most ongoing water trucking activities in the North of Iraq, due to armed conflict, UNICEF is supporting the Dahuk Water Directorate with the daily provision of 67 water trucks across Dahuk Governorate, serving 80,500 IDPs in schools, settlements, unfinished buildings, and within the host communities.
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.
UNICEF, in partnership with WHO and the MoH, conducted the national polio campaign from August 10th till August 17th in 12 governorates of Iraq. Areas that have recently experienced violence, including the city of Mosul and Anbar Governorate, have implemented the campaign successfully and reached a minimum of 3,482,092 children under 5 years of age (final numbers to be confirmed).