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NEWS NOTE

Damascus, Syria 24/06/15 – The European Commission has contributed an additional 3 million Euro (approximately 3.4 million USD) in humanitarian funding to support UNICEF’s response to address the needs of the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Syria. Since 2012, the European Commission has been one of UNICEF’s most valued partners having now committed 26.7 million Euro to UNICEF’s response in Syria.

This additional contribution will support UNICEF to sustain activities within Water and Sanitation (WASH), Health and Child Protection for 2.9 million of the most vulnerable people, including children and adolescents in Syria.

“The additional funding to UNICEF’s operations inside Syria is our response to the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation. This funding aims to meet the basic needs of the suffering populations, provide health care services and protection for the civilians,” said Youcef Hammache, Head of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department’s (ECHO) Syria office.

Humanitarian needs in Syria have increased twelve-fold since the beginning of the crisis, with 12.2 million people now in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 5 million children.

“It is needed now more than ever for all actors to enhance their efforts and support for the children of Syria who are paying the heaviest price of this crisis” said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF’s Representative in Syria.

With no end in sight to an increasingly protracted crisis and with living conditions further deteriorating inside Syria, UNICEF looks to invest in more sustainable solutions that will enhance the long term coping mechanisms, resilience and self-sufficiency of the affected population. An example of an intervention to benefit from the European Commission’s humanitarian funding will be for the equipping of local wells as an alternative water supply when the main supply fails or is cut off. UNICEF will also work to bolster the capacity of an overstretched and overburdened healthcare system to deliver critical primary health care to mothers and children. Similarly for Child Protection, a focus on strengthening community based psycho social support mechanisms and risk education measures is a key priority for the coming year.

Since 2011, health care services in the country have deteriorated due to direct damages to facilities, power outages, and shortages of critical medicines, medical supplies, and qualified health care professionals. One consequence of this is that routine immunization coverage has dropped significantly. This grant will help UNICEF to continue its efforts in strengthening of routine immunization systems in close coordination with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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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 humanitarian assistance is based 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

About UNICEF

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:

Juliette Touma, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, +962-79-867-4628 jtouma@unicef.org

Caroline Gluck, ECHO Regional Information Officer, European Commission, +96264607037 Caroline.Gluck@echofield.eu

Razan Rashidi, Communication Officer UNICEF Syria, +963933549020 rrashidi@unicef.org

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