UNICEF scales up emergency help to Syria’s children
DAMASCUS, 19 February 2013 – Despite worsening violence and significant funding gaps, UNICEF is stepping up its delivery of humanitarian assistance in Syria, targeting increasing numbers of the more than 4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
At least half of the total affected population are children. Many have been internally displaced by conflict, live in collective shelters with few belongings and often lack the most basic essentials. “Even as the situation deteriorates, UNICEF has managed to expand its operations to deliver essential relief supplies like blankets, children’s clothes, hygiene items, plastic sheets, and high-energy biscuits,” said Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Representative in Syria. “Many of these deliveries were made as part of recent cross-line operations.” Most recently, UNICEF was part of an inter-agency mission that delivered a first batch of critical and life-saving supplies to 6,000 internally displaced people in Karameh in north-western Syria.
Some of the cities reached in the past three weeks have experienced prolonged and severe conflict. In the northern city of Aleppo, for example, UNICEF and its local partners have distributed 45,000 blankets and quilts.
In Deir Ez-Zor, Al-Hasaka, Homs, Idleb, Al-Raqqa and Damascus, meanwhile, a total of 90,000 blankets were distributed to children and their families, along with 14,000 plastic sheets and more than 10,000 sets of children’s clothes. In Tartus and Homs, including Talbiseh, UNICEF reached 7,000 children with 176 school-in-a-carton kits, which contain educational materials.
UNICEF is appealing for US$68 million to provide urgent humanitarian assistance in Syria for water and sanitation, health and nutrition, education, psychosocial support as part of a UN-wide appeal issued last December. Less than 20 per cent of that amount has been received.