Damascus, 25 February 2015 – The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has donated an additional €500.000 (approximately $567,000 USD) in support of UNICEF’s winter programme to provide children in Syria with warm clothes and blankets. This additional contribution brings the total ECHO support to UNICEF inside Syria to €17.5 million (ca. $20 million USD) since the beginning of the crisis.
“After four years of conflict, winter is a particularly difficult time for families in Syria, since their coping mechanisms have been exhausted. It is especially harsh for families who have been displaced (and in some cases, displaced multiple times) due to conflict and who are relying exclusively on humanitarian assistance. Children are especially vulnerable”, said Youcef Hammache, Syria Head of office for the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department.
“The humanitarian situation in Syria is worsening every day, which is why continued support is so important to help children and their families live a dignified life despite the harsh circumstances. ECHO has been one of UNICEF’s main partners in responding to the growing humanitarian needs since the beginning of the Syria crisis,” said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative in Syria.
Ahead of the start of the winter season, UNICEF launched a massive winterization programme aiming to support 912,000 children with winter materials; 400,000 children with winter clothes, and additional 500,000 with blankets. So far, UNICEF has procured 360,000 winter clothes kit for children, as well as 205,000 blankets. At least 65% of the winter clothes and all the blankets were procured locally, including through partnerships with local association and IDP groups.
Despite access constraints and extreme weather conditions, distribution of winter supplies continues across the country. UNICEF through its partners has so far reached 250,000 children with winter clothes, and 200,000 children with warm blankets in all 14 Governorates in Syria.
In addition, UNICEF has also supported the Department of Education to install 40 fuel tanks and distributed 1500 heaters in 75 schools to ensure that at least 40,000 children and 1,418 teachers learn in a conducive environment.
ECHO’s funds will enable UNICEF to provide 45,000 more children with winter clothes and blankets in Homs, Hassakeh and Aleppo.
About the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO)
The European Commission funds relief operations for victims of natural disasters and conflicts around the world. The Commission’s assistance relies on the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. The European Commission is among UNICEF’s largest humanitarian donors. In 2013 alone, it provided almost €100 million for UNICEF projects to help children.
For more information visit: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information visit: http://www.unicef.org/eu/
For more information, please contact:
- Simon Ingram, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, +962 79 590 4740, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Caroline Gluck, ECHO Regional Information Officer, European Commission, +96264607037 Caroline.Gluck@echofield.eu