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Jordan-Syria border, November 2014 – Zeid’s smile is infectious. The 5-year old stares at his new boots with pure delight. They are part of a UNICEF winterisation kit being provided to all children under the age of 16, at Jordan’s north east border with Syria.

Zeid and his family spent an arduous month making the journey from Damascus to the transit camp at the border with Jordan. “We lost half our belongings along the way,” says Zeid’s mother, Safa’a. “When we got here we had nothing and when the first box of clothes arrived we were very happy,” she adds.

At the transit center, Lucio Melandri is of the UNICEF staff members distributing clothes to new arrivals. “This family fled during the night and they have no belongings with them. Children are the most affected and are the first affected by the climatic conditions,” says the Humanitarian Affairs Specialist as he wraps a scarf around Zeid.

While conditions in the desert are still comfortable during the day, temperatures are starting to drop at night. A few weeks from now cold winter weather will start to settle in.

In another caravan, Rasha helps her four children open their boxes. Ten-year old Mahmoud tries on a new jacket. The family has been on the move for more than a year inside Syria and crossed the border in to Jordan as a last resort.

“Once we reached Jordan we felt safe and calm. We didn’t hear bombing anymore,” says Rasha. “The children were cold but once we were given clothes they were warm,” she says. The smiles on their faces suggest they are feeling a lot more comfortable. “When you see your children are happy you become happy,” adds Rasha.

Innovative approach to winterisation

Syrians arriving at the border receive winter kits to help meet their immediate needs. The most vulnerable children living in Jordan, and at the Za’atari and Azraq refugee camps will receive a subsidy of US$ 30.   An estimated 54,500 children under the age of 14 will receive the subsidy to buy clothes.

The funds will be added to an already existing voucher system managed by the World Food Programme (WFP). Families will then be able to choose the most appropriate clothing for their children at selected shops.

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UNICEF Jordan winterisation highlights:

The Jordan Winterization programme will benefit a total of 72,300 children under the age of 16.  That’s approximately 25% of all Syrian refugee children in Jordan comprising the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

  • 11,600 clothing kits distributed to children under the age of 16 at the Jordan – Syria border
  • 6200 kits to children from the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families including families living in Informal tented settlements in host communities
  • US$ 30 added to vouchers to buy clothing at select stores across the country for 54,500 children in camps and host communities 

Find out more about UNICEF’s regional winter response: http://childrenofsyria.info/winter/

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