More than 40,000 children in the line of fire in Ar-Raqqa as fighting intensifies
Statement attributable to Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director in the Middle East and North Africa Region
DAMASCUS/AMMAN, 9 June, 2017- “Heavy violence in the city of Ar-Raqqa is threatening the lives of children. UNICEF has received alarming reports that at least 25 children were killed and scores injured in Ar-Raqqa city.
“An estimated 40,000 children remain trapped in extremely dangerous conditions in Ar-Raqqa city. Many are caught in the crossfire.
Hospitals and schools have reportedly come under attack. Those attempting to flee are at the danger of getting killed or injured.
“Children are deprived of the most basic and life-saving necessities; little aid has reached Ar-Raqqa since 2013 due to violence and access restrictions.
“The fighting has resulted in massive displacement in and around the city, with some 80,000 children now internally displaced and living in temporary shelters and camps.
“UNICEF calls on all parties to protect children inside Ar-Raqqa, provide safe passage to those wishing to leave the city and grant a protected environment to civilians who fled the city.”
Notes to editors: UNICEF is responding to the immediate needs of children and families who have fled the violence and sought safety in camps and informal settlements:
Trucking 975,000 litres of water daily to around 120,000 internally displaced people in camps in the Raqqa and Hassakeh governorates. Immunizing 58,100 children under the age of 5 against polio and other diseases. Distributing 11,260 school bags to children in camps and host communities in northern Raqqa and setting up learning spaces for 3,100 children. Distributing clothing for children and providing emergency psychosocial support to help children cope with the trauma they have faced.