UNICEF & ZAKIRA launch exhibition of displaced children’s photographs in Lebanon

الخبر باللغة العربية

Beirut, 22 January 2015– UNICEF and Zakira, The Image Festival Association are jointly launching the “Lahza 2” exhibition of displaced children’s photography at Al Madina Theatre in Beirut today.

“These photographs give us the extraordinary opportunity to see the lives of displaced children from the child’s viewpoint,” said UNICEF’s Representative Annamaria Laurini. “Today we should watch and listen and see through the eyes of refugee children how they see their lives, their troubles and their aspirations”.

Over a period of more than a year, five hundred children displaced from Syria in Lebanon, aged 7 to 12 years of age, were given basic training on how to use a camera and compose an image to capture a glimpse of their lives. Continue reading

Germany contributes €34.2M to support children affected by the Syria crisis in Lebanon

الخبر باللغة العربية

Germany contributes €34.2M to support children affected by the Syria crisis in Lebanon

Beirut, 19 January 2015 – The government of Germany, through KfW Development Bank, is contributing €34.2 million to UNICEF’s ongoing efforts to support vulnerable children affected by the Syria crisis in Lebanon.

The grant will assist UNICEF in providing access to quality formal and non-formal education in safe and protective environments and ensuring that girls, boys and women have adequate access to child protection services.

In addition to providing technical support to Lebanon’s Ministry of Education through building institutional capacities, the German grant will allow UNICEF to provide more than 58,000 vulnerable children with access to formal and non-formal learning opportunities and receive ‘Back to Learning’ packages containing a school uniform, a school bag and stationary. Additionally, 23,000 Syrian displaced children in need of additional learning support will have access to remedial classes to help them overcome barriers to enrolling in the Lebanese education system.

The fund will also assist UNICEF in providing 38,000 children with age-appropriate activities and information to help create a protective environment, where girls and boys are free from violence, exploitation and aware of protection services available to help them restore some sense of normalcy to their lives. Static and mobile ‘safe spaces’ will also provide 26,000 women and girls vulnerable to gender-based violence across Lebanon with access to prevention and referral services.

“UNICEF is deeply grateful to the people and government of Germany for their continued support to children in Lebanon,” said Ms. Annamaria Laurini, UNICEF’s Representative in Lebanon. “As the conflict is entering yet another year we have a small window of opportunity to ensure that not only the urgent needs of refugee children are met but also vulnerable host communities are supported with assistance to protect them from violence, abuse, and exploitation; to ensure they get quality education to foster their minds and build resilience for a better future.”

Lebanon is host to the largest number of refugees from Syria, with 1.15M refugees registered and awaiting registration. However, communities that initially opened their homes to Syrian refugee families are now struggling to make ends meet.

After four years of generous hosting to families displaced by the Syria crisis, the economic and social impact on Lebanese communities has reached a critical point as public services have been overwhelmed. The German grant will allow both Lebanese and refugee children to have the right to live in safety, dignity, freedom protected from violence, exploitation and abuse.

Germany has been one of UNICEF’s largest donors since the start of the response to the Syria crisis. This grant comes in addition to a new €15M contribution from the Government of Germany for water and sanitation interventions”.

For more information please contact:

UNICEF:

  • Soha Boustani, Chief of Communication, sboustani@unicef.org, +961 70 931 700
  • Salam Abdulmunem, Communication Specialist, sabdulmunem@unicef.org, +961 70 996 605

UNICEF Steps Up Assistance for Children Affected by the Bitter Winter Sweeping through the Middle East

Amidst the harshest conditions of the winter so far, UNICEF has delivered warm clothing, blankets, heating supplies, cash and vouchers to more than 900,000 children in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

As the Syria conflict nears the four-year mark, UNICEF estimates that at least 7 million internally displaced and refugee children are in desperate need of assistance. Many continue to live in unfinished buildings and inadequate shelters that expose them to sub-zero temperatures, heavy snow and strong winds.

“Given the access constraints and extreme weather conditions, we’ve managed to accelerate our winter response in order to reach as many children as possible,” said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “The contribution of our various partners – local as well as governmental – has been critical in making this happen even in such difficult conditions.”

  • In Syria, UNICEF winter supplies have reached 350,000 children and the distribution continues nationwide.
  • UNICEF Lebanon’s winter items and vouchers have been provided to 200,000 children in the most exposed areas of the country, including in elevated areas such as Aarsal. UNICEF teams are working to reach a total of 478,000 children in the coming weeks.
  • In Jordan UNICEF winter kits and cash assistance have benefited 100,000 vulnerable Syrian refugee children and their families in camps and communities.
  • In Turkey, the winter response has reached 62,000 children, including 22,000 children from Kobane aged 3-11 years in Suruc.
  • In Iraq, winter clothing kits have been distributed to over 200,000 children in over 100 hard-to-reach and high altitude areas.

“While important, these achievements pale in comparison to the numbers of children and families whose lives are being devastated with every day this terrible conflict drags on,” Ms. Calivis added. “We appeal to our donors and supporters around the world to give generously to ensure that this work can continue.”

UNICEF Lebanon: 11.5 million dollars winter supplies to help children most affected by the storm

@UNICEF/Lebanon-2015/Romenzi

@UNICEF/Lebanon-2015/Romenzi

BEIRUT, 9 January 2015

Displaced children from Syria living in flimsy makeshift tents at high altitudes have been struggling to cope – and even survive – as the winter storm Zina brought unrelenting freezing winds, heavy rains, and snow to Lebanon. UNICEF and its NGO partners have been distributing pre-positioned winter clothes for children, blankets, tarpaulins, and high energy biscuits, reaching 75,000 Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestine refugee children in the most affected areas so far. Emergency mobile health teams, alongside the continuing Mobile Medical Units have treated over 1,600 patients in the informal settlements.

“Our teams and local implementing partners have been working around the clock to address the impact of the storm on the most vulnerable children and families,” said Annamaria Laurini, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon. “Every single effort needs to be made immediately to avoid unnecessary tragedies that could be prevented.”

During the last 72 hours, with the Ministry of Public Health, and the local NGO Beyond Association, UNICEF funded Mobile Medical Units have been going from settlement to settlement, where access has been possible. At least 1,600 patients have been consulted from tent to tent and many health cases among children related to the cold temperatures, including flu, fever and skin diseases were treated.

This winter UNICEF will spend USD 11.5 million to assist 456,500 vulnerable Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestine refugee children: 160,000 children will receive winter clothes kits; 135,000 children winter clothing vouchers; 155,000 children will benefit from fuel for heating in 583 public schools; 6,500 children from flood mitigation measures in informal settlements.

Due to this week’s storm, key roads and highways were blocked with snow, hindering delivery trucks and mobile medical units from reaching badly affected areas. Deliveries have resumed and more winter supplies will be handed out over the weekend and next week, while mobile medical teams have resumed their activities.

UNICEF Lebanon has been preparing for winter since October, and prepositioned 28,000 winter kits in the Bekaa, Aarsal, and Akkar. Drainage kits for over 20,000 people were distributed to mitigate flooding in Informal Settlements, as well as plastic sheeting stocks for an emergency response.

At the same time, the number of vulnerable children in need has been growing on a daily basis. More and more displaced Syrians have run out of savings, and are having to resort to desperate measures – moving to tented settlements as a last resort.

From mid-December, UNICEF Lebanon and its partners have distributed some 70,000 winter kits with clothes to help keep children warm including 22,000 in Aarsal, 42,000 in the Bekaa Valley, as well as in the North and the South. In addition, 8,000 tarpaulins, 400 drainage kits benefitting some 20,000 people.

Today and tomorrow, additional winter kits, blankets, tarpaulins, boxes of high energy biscuits, jerry cans, sanitation/ drainage kits and women’s clothes will be distributed.

UNICEF and WFP partner to help vulnerable Syrian families in Za’atari and Azraq camps protect their children against the winter cold

@UNICEF/Jordan-2015/Alhamwan

@UNICEF/Jordan-2015/Alhamwan

AMMAN, 7 January 2015 As Jordan braces for a winter storm in the next few days, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) today launched a winter cash assistance programme to provide 41,000 vulnerable Syrian refugee children under the age of 14 in Za’atari and Azraq refugee camps with 14 Jordanian Dinars (JOD) each, to allow their families to get them winter clothes.

The one-time cash assistance from UNICEF will target children from nearly 13,000 vulnerable families in the two camps through the existing WFP electronic food voucher programme (e-cards).

The UNICEF assistance can be used to buy winter clothes, such as boots, gloves, trousers, coats and scarves at WFP-contracted supermarkets in the camps until 31 January 2015.

Refugee families in camps are being informed through SMS, posters, flyers and awareness sessions with camp community leaders that the JOD 14 amount is for the winter clothing needs of their children.

“It is imperative to ensure that children are protected from the harsh weather conditions, so that they remain healthy and active, and continue to attend schooling,” said Robert Jenkins, UNICEF Representative. “UNICEF, in partnership with WFP, is supporting the winterization programme through cash assistance, so that families are able to choose and buy necessary winter clothes for their children,” he added.

“When we launched the WFP e-card programme, the vision was for other relief agencies to use this platform to provide their assistance to Syrian refugees,” said Dorte Jessen, WFP Deputy Emergency Coordinator in Jordan. “We are thrilled that UNICEF will be the first agency to reach Syrian refugees with their winterization programme through WFP e-cards in existing partner shops in the camps, meeting the urgent needs of providing winter clothing at the coldest time of the year.”

The UNICEF winterization programme in Jordan is reaching over 102,000 vulnerable children this winter in partnership with UNHCR, WFP and NGO partners. The cash assistance programme and in kind winterization support has been made possible through the generous support from the governments of Canada, Germany and the USA through the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

New Study Finds Displaced Children’s Nutritional Status ‘Serious’ in three Syrian Governorates

Damascus, 22 December 2014 – An assessment of the nutritional status of displaced children under five living in collective shelters and the host community in Syria has found a “serious” level of global acute malnutrition rate in three governorates, with a “poor” overall nutrition situation.

The Rapid Nutrition Assessment provides a sampling of the nutritional status of displaced children living in collective shelters and the host community in Syria. It is the first large-scale assessment of its type to be completed since the start of the crisis in Syria in March 2011.

The study found that three governorates – Hama, Aleppo and Deir-ez-Zor – exhibited Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates among children sampled above 10 per cent: a nutrition situation considered as “serious” according to WHO standards. The overall GAM rate was 7.2 per cent, while the Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) rate was 2.3 per cent – levels that indicate a “poor” nutrition situation based on WHO classification.

The study also found that close to four-fifths (79.8 per cent) of displaced families reported that they were dependent on a combination of food aid and purchased food. About 29 per cent of families said that they did not have enough food for all family members during the week prior to the assessment, including a lack of access in many cases to meat, eggs and dairy products. Of these families, 70 per cent said that they had reduced their number of meals.

This comes on top of the Syrian Humanitarian Needs Overview, issued in by OCHA November, which estimates that 4 million children and women are in need of prevention of under nutrition and nutrition treatment services for acutely malnourished children within Syria.

“The study provides a disturbing picture of the impact of the continuing conflict on the nutritional status of displaced children. Inadequate nutrition risks long-term effects on children’s well-being and can lead to death in extreme cases if not detected early and treated,” says Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative to Syria.

“Children are receiving nutrition assistance in accessible areas, but the nutrition situation is likely to be worse for children in hard-to-reach parts of the country.”

“Moving forward, the results are already informing the humanitarian response on children’s nutrition and allowing for a more targeted approach to help those children most in need,” Ms. Singer noted.

In 2015, UNICEF requires $21.1 million in order to scale up its nutrition programme, strengthening prevention of under nutrition and promotion of optimal practices; screening more children for malnutrition; providing more nutritional support; and increased training on nutrition.

The Rapid Nutrition Assessment was conducted by the Nutrition sector in Syria in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Central Bureau of Statistics, along with support from UNICEF.

The assessment was carried out between March and July 2014 in 13 of Syria’s 14 governorates. Enumerators visited 3,361 displaced families who lived in collective shelters and in the host community. The nutrition situation of close to 4,500 children was assessed – through a combination of survey questions and measurements, including height, weight and mid-upper arm circumference while checking presence of nutritional oedema– with complete data collected for 3,514 children.

UNICEF Joins UN Launch of 2015 Syria Crisis Response Plans

Statement by Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa on the Launch of the 2015 Strategic Response Plan for Syria (SRP) and the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) 2015-16

Amman, December 18, 2014: “The Syria crisis represents the biggest threat to children of recent times. By the end of 2015, the lives of over 8.6 million children across the region will have been torn apart by violence and forced displacement. That compares to a figure of 7 million just one month ago.

Since the outset, and in spite of the enormous security and other challenges posed by a conflict of such scale and brutality, UNICEF and its partners have been delivering clean water, sanitation, education, health and immunization services, and psychosocial care to millions of children and their families.

This year, as part of the 2015 Syria appeal, UNICEF is renewing its commitment to the survival and protection of children, including those living under the harshest conditions of siege. At the same time, we are redoubling our efforts on behalf of poor communities in neighbouring countries where refugees have settled, so that they can continue to share their vital services and schools with refugee children and their families living in their midst.

In 2015, drawing on the experience we have gained on the ground and working alongside our local and international partners, UNICEF will:

  • Double the number of children accessing safe water and sanitation. This will be done mainly by strengthening durable water networks and infrastructure. In Syria alone, we will continue to meet the ongoing needs of more than 16 m people. 
  • Double the number of children with access to learning especially in Syria and Jordan,while expanding the provision of learning materials for children living in areas of Syria made hard-to-reach by violence. 
  • Maintain ongoing vaccination campaigns with the aim of preventing any further polio cases, while also doubling the number of children in Syria benefiting from primary health care consultations. 
  • Deliver care and support to 850,000 children directly affected by the conflict, while expanding cash grants and provision of winter clothing to the families of the most vulnerable children. 
  • Reinforce the efforts of local authorities to provide education, health, water/ sanitation and protection services for Syrian refugee and host community children. 

These commitments – costed at $ 903 million — represent the bare minimum the children affected by this conflict can expect of UNICEF and of the international community as a whole.  We call on our supporters around the world to help us make these commitments a reality.”

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Photos and video related to the Syria crisis can be downloaded from https://www.dropbox.com/sh/273h9n5hsfqy2zy/AADuUI2OZdIJiZy5JtmgmSSTa?dl=0

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

For more information please contact:

In November, UNICEF provides more than 75,000 children with supplies in conflict-affected towns in Syria

 Damascus, 10 December 2014 – In November, UNICEF, with the assistance of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, took a big step forward in reaching children in hard to reach areas by providing lifesaving supplies and education kits to an estimated 75,400 children.

Early Childhood Development (ECD) kits and life-saving supplies such as winter clothes, blankets, hygiene kits, plastic sheets and plumpy dose were delivered across the lines of conflict to approximately 48,500 families in Homs, Idleb, Aleppo, and Rural Damascus.

Volunteer teams from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent distributed supplies in Al Waer in Homs, Kafr Hamra in Aleppo, Maaret Elartiq, Anadan, Riffat and Azaz in Aleppo, and Daraya, Douma and Qudsaya and Buqien in Rural Damascus. Until recently, these areas were almost impossible to reach. Another cross line mission in November enabled UNICEF to provide immunization services to 410 children in Qah and Atmeh camps in Idleb governorate. Many of these children had missed out on previous vaccination rounds.

“These cross line humanitarian convoys represent our continuous efforts to reach the most vulnerable children in the most difficult to access areas because of the ongoing conflict,” said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative to Syria. “The needs continue to be challenging and we all need to double our efforts to reach the thousands of children who remains in desperate need”

In 2014, UNICEF carried out 45 humanitarian convoys, delivering life-saving supplies across the lines of conflict into hard to reach areas. More than 4.8 million people are estimated to be living in inaccessible areas, almost half of them are children. UNICEF continues to call on all parties to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all people in need, including medical supplies.

Millions of vulnerable Syrian refugee children are at risk of going to bed hungry

Food cuts increase health risks and threaten wellbeing through winter months

AMMAN, 4 December 2014 – UNICEF joins the appeal for urgent support to the World Food Programme (WFP) after the UN agency was forced to cut food assistance for 1.7 million vulnerable Syrians across the region.

This cut will contribute to the growing sense of desperation particularly among children, nursing mothers, persons with disabilities and the elderly.

Families risk being driven towards destitution and many children might be forced into the workplace to increase family income for the purchase of basic food items. This in turn could lead to more school dropout.

“Syrian children and their families are paying a heavy price as a result of the ongoing crisis,” says Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.  “As winter approaches, the lack of funds for food will have a devastating impact on them.”

If funding is provided, WFP could resume assistance for Syrian children through a voucher system that enables families to buy food in the local markets.

UNICEF urgently calls on the donor countries to further support the critical needs of Syrian children and their families and avert a looming disaster.

For more information about current needs and UNICEF’s Regional Winter Response, please visit:  http://childrenofsyria.info/winter/

ECHO provides additional €4 million to keep Syrian children healthy

AMMAN, Jordan, 25 November 2014 – The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) has contributed an additional €4 million (approximately $5 million USD) to UNICEF’s emergency response supporting children affected by the on-going conflict inside Syria, and in neighboring Jordan.

ECHO has provided $51.8 million USD to UNICEF’s response to the Syria crisis since 2012. Syria has received $23 million USD and Jordan has received $20.8 million USD.

The new funds will provide essential health and water and sanitation services for internally displaced people within Syria and water and sanitation services for children and their families in neighbouring Jordan.

“We are grateful to ECHO, who has been working hand-in-hand with UNICEF since the beginning of the Syria crisis,” said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “This timely contribution will provide clean water to millions of displaced and refugee Syrian children, as well as basic health care services that vulnerable children need. It is this sustained support that has mitigated the spread of waterborne diseases and epidemics across the sub-region.”

Throughout 2014, the ECHO-UNICEF partnership has provided approximately 2.5 million children under the age of five inside Syria with polio vaccinations, four million people with access to water and hygiene supplies and 700,000 with access to improved health services.

Funds provided by ECHO are saving people’s lives, like Rihab and her family who were forced to flee their home in Aleppo last winter and now live in an unfinished building in another part of the city. Despite the danger, local health volunteers have managed to vaccinate every child in their area.

In Jordan, 145,000 people in camps and host communities have access to safe and sufficient amounts of water for drinking and domestic use, and 4,200 vulnerable children, including children who are unaccompanied or have been separated from their families have received child protection services and psycho-social support.

“Nearly 6.5 million children have been affected by the war in Syria”, said David Verboom, Head of ECHO’s regional office in Amman. “They are the most vulnerable, yet many youngsters are being denied access to the most basic things that we take for granted, like clean water and health services. Through our important partnership with UNICEF, we are supporting life-saving projects to alleviate their suffering. It is especially important to provide help now as winter will be a real struggle for families.”

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About the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection
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

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.

Ministry of Public Health, UNICEF and WHO launch second round of National Polio Immunisation campaign from 15 to 21 November 2014

الخبر باللغة العربية

Beirut, 15 November 2014 – The Ministry of Public Health launches today the next round of Lebanon’s polio immunisation campaign, lasting for seven days until the 21st.

This round comes on the heels of the previous vaccination round held in October and in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as part of the regional response to the Polio outbreak in the Middle East. Continue reading

Children’s winter needs are greater than ever in Middle East but limited access and funds hamper UNICEF response

PRESS RELEASE

Over seven million Syrian and Iraqi children caught up in conflict face a harsh winter. UNICEF and partners are distributing winter clothing to one million of the most vulnerable.

AMMAN/GENEVA, 14 November 2014 –As seasonal cold winds, freezing rain, and frigid temperatures close in on conflict-torn parts of the Middle East, UNICEF and partners have begun the distribution of warm clothes and other winter items to ensure that one million of the most vulnerable children are kept warm and healthy.

“After all that they’ve suffered on account of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, the onset of winter and the growing number of families being displaced means that many children across the region desperately need protection,” said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “However, due to critical issues of access and funding gaps, many children will sadly not be reached.”

In Syria, UNICEF is working to assist 400,000 internally displaced children. But due to a funding shortage, only 217,600 winter kits have been purchased for distribution in four priority areas of Homs, Tartous, Aleppo, and Qamishly. Access to many areas remains limited or impossible due to ongoing fighting.

Equally challenging is the situation in Iraq, where UNICEF is distributing 223,000 winter kits in Kurdish areas hosting some 500,000 children displaced by fighting over recent months. Currently, plans are underway on how best to address the influx of newly arrived Syrian children seeking shelter in camps, school building and rural hamlets. With the current funding shortage, more than 200,000 children are expected to go without warm clothes this winter.

“The humanitarian needs are unprecedented and the conflicts in the region are complex,” said Paul Molinaro, UNCEF Regional Chief of Supply. “To address these challenges, we have undertaken a number of measures, including local procurement of many winter supplies to ensure children get the supplies they need in time.”

In Lebanon, UNICEF winter kits will reach over 100,000 children and nearly 75,000 children will receive vouchers to purchase clothes in local markets. To keep learning and recreation spaces warm, UNICEF will deliver plastic sheeting and insulation layers for improved protection of temporary tented schools and Child Friendly Spaces.

In Jordan, UNICEF will provide winter kits to 72,000 children. An additional 54,500 children will receive vouchers. In Turkey, UNICEF response will reach 100,000 children. This is the first winter away from home for child refugees coming from Ayn al-Arab (Kobani) area.

Together, the conflicts in Syria and Iraq are affecting the lives of over 7 million children. That compares to 5.6 million children one year ago.

For more information about current needs and UNICEF’s Regional Winter Response, please visit:  http://childrenofsyria.info/winter/

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For more information, please contact:

Simon Ingram, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, singram@unicef.org, +962 79 590 4740

Roshan Khadivi, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, rkhadivi@unicef.org, +962 79 565 1574