BANGKOK, 3 February 2017 - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today appeals to the Thai public for urgent donations to help save lives, and bring education, care and protection to millions of Syrian children who are suffering from the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II.
Today, six years from the start of the conflict, UNICEF estimates that more than 8 million Syrian children are in urgent need of assistance, including 2 million children who are living in extremely hard-to-reach areas, where they suffer severe deprivations and likely witness firsthand the impact of this devastating conflict on their own lives and on the lives of their family members. Millions of children have been displaced from their homes, are frightened and traumatized, and continue to suffer from a lack of the most basic elements to sustain their lives, including water, food and medical supplies.
Fearing for their lives and facing an uncertain future, children are bearing the brunt of this conflict. UNICEF estimates that 2.8 million Syrian children are out of school due to the conflict, and a large number of children have been forced into the worst forms of child labour.
“It is just heart-breaking to see innocent children suffer like this, year after year after year” said Thomas Davin, UNICEF Thailand Representative. “They are struggling to get access to simple things that we all take for granted, including basic food, water, health care, and access to their schools. This suffering needs to end. Regardless of the circumstances, or where in the world a child is, that child is a child first, and we owe that child care, protection, health and education.”
“UNICEF is there, right now, doing everything we can to lend a hand,” said Davin, “But the scale of the crisis is so large that we need all the help we can get – including from the Thai public – to make sure we reach these children and can provide them with the life-saving services that they need. Every day these children go through another harrowing fight for survival. The situation is increasingly urgent. We need your help right now."
UNICEF provides humanitarian assistance to children and families inside Syria, but also to the millions of refugees currently living in the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
In 2016, UNICEF helped over 14 million children and families to have access to clean drinking water by providing water disinfectants, and by repairing and rehabilitating water infrastructure. UNICEF provided polio vaccinations to 21 million children in Syria and neighboring countries last year, and distributed micronutrient supplements to over 600,000 children and mothers. Around 3.1 million children received UNICEF learning supplies, over 420,000 children went back to formal education, and 1 million children received structured psychosocial support.
UNICEF continues to strengthen efforts to reach those children who are the most difficult to reach. This includes children in the besieged parts of the country, and those in very remote areas. In 2017, UNICEF aims to get 3.8 million children in Syria and the neighboring countries into school; provide access to clean water for nearly 8 million people; to vaccinate 19 million children under five against polio; and to screen over 2.3 million children and women for malnutrition.
The #ThaiforSyria fundraising appeal has received generous support from many leading Thai celebrities including Kalamare Patcharasri Benjamas, Chompoo Araya A. Hargate, Peach Pachara Chirathivat and Zico Kiatisuk Senamuang. Last month, Kalamare Pacharasri Benjamat, a celebrity and news anchor, travelled to Lebanon with UNICEF to learn about the real lives of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. While in Lebanon, Kalamare met and spoke with children and families at four temporary settlements, listening to their stories and learning about the challenges they face. She also witnessed life-saving treatment of children and families at UNICEF-supported mobile medical units.
“Going to Lebanon with UNICEF really helped me understand more about the real lives of children,” Patcharasri said. “There was one time when a teacher asked children to draw something that made them feel happiest, every child drew a home and a family. Every child wants to have a home. It made me realize that all they need is just basic things in life. I could see that these children’s eyes are filled with hopes and dreams for the future,” she said.
“I want to tell everyone that when our country has been hit by emergencies, such as the as tsunami, people from across the world came to help us. Right now, the Syrian conflict is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. If you can help and if you think that we are all human beings living in the same world, please help.”
To donate: Type 100 and send an SMS to 4712225 to donate 100 baht
Donate online: www.unicef.or.th/syria
For more information, please contact:
Alistair Gretarsson, UNICEF Thailand, 02 356 9481 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Nattha Keenapan, UNICEF Thailand, 02 356 9478 or email@example.com
For donation, please contact:
Wannaphen Silaphusith, UNICEF Thailand, 02 356 9273, firstname.lastname@example.org