Polio immunization drive targets 25 million children across the Middle East

باللغة العربية

Amman, 24 October 2014 – As the world marks World Polio Day, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners across the Middle East are bolstering efforts to contain a polio outbreak triggered by the conflict in Syria and Iraq last year.

In the coming weeks, 25 million children under the age of five, across seven countries, (Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq) will be vaccinated against polio, amid rising hopes the outbreak in the region has been contained.

The current synchronised vaccination rounds are part of a crucial multi-country effort to eliminate polio in the Middle East, after 36 cases were confirmed in Syria in October 2013, and two further cases were confirmed in Iraq in April 2014.

“Tremendous progress has been achieved since polio made its way back into Syria last year. Through the huge effort of our partners to reach children in hard- to-access areas, in challenging conditions, there have been no new cases of polio reported in Syria or Iraq since April,” said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “This effort must be sustained and we must remain vigilant so that all children can grow and thrive without the fear of polio.”

Ongoing activities include:

  • In Syria: 2.9  million children targeted for immunization in October
  • In Iraq:  5.8 million children targeted to be vaccinated in October
  • In Lebanon: 550,000 children to be immunized in in October and November
  • In Jordan: 1.1 million targeted to be vaccinated in October
  • In Egypt: 15 million children targeted for immunization in October
  • In Turkey: 300,000 children targeted to be vaccinated in October

In Syria and Iraq, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners are making a special effort to reach children who have been displaced by the ongoing violence, and who may have missed out on previous vaccination campaigns because of heavy fighting.  An estimated 200,000 children will not be reached through the polio campaign in Syria because they live in hard-to-reach areas affected by to the ongoing conflict.

“While polio has been reduced by over 99 per cent since the global eradication effort started, the risk of further international spread across the region remains high, so we appeal to parents to give their full support to these campaigns, which will run through early 2015,” said Chris Maher, Manager of Polio Eradication and Emergency Response, WHO. “Closing the Middle East polio outbreak is a critical step toward improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children.”

GPEI is spearheaded by national governments, WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Islamic Development Bank and a range of public and private sector donors. Since 1988, GPEI has reduced polio worldwide by over 99 percent.

Canada Ambassador Childs-Adams and UNICEF Representative Laurini visit Canadian-funded projects in Bourj Hammoud

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الخبر باللغة العربية

Beirut, 21 October 2014 - Canadian Ambassador Hilary Childs-Adams and UNICEF Representative in Lebanon, Annamaria Laurini, visited this past Friday the “Mouvement Social” center in Bourj Hammoud as part of the projects supported by the Canadian Government to Lebanon in response to the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon.

The high-level delegation included Ms. Leslie Norton, Director General for International Humanitarian Assistance, and Mr. Dave Metcalfe, Director General for Development (Middle East and Europe) at Department of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Development. Continue reading

The Ministry of Public Health launches National Polio Immunization Campaign to prevent Polio resurgence in Lebanon

الخبر باللغة العربية

October 14th, 2014 – The Ministry of Public Health, in collaboration with UNICEF and WHO launched the National Polio Immunization Campaign at a press conference held today at the Lebanese Order of Physicians. The event was headed by the Minister of Public Health Wael Abou Faour and was attended by the Ministers of Interior, Education, Information, the Lebanese Order of Physicians, the National Certification Committee (NCC) and the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) Committee along with members of the press. Further attendees included the Rotary as well as a number of NGO partner representatives who have been supporting the initiatives in the months leading to this campaign. Continue reading

EU Ambassador Eichhorst and UNICEF Representative Laurini visit EU-funded activities in southern Lebanon

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الخبر باللغة العربية

Beirut, 9 October 2014 – Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, and UNICEF Representative in Lebanon, Annamaria Laurini, visited two EU-funded activities in Sarafand and Marj Al-Khokh in southern Lebanon that form part of the support provided by the European Union to Lebanon in response to the consequences of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon.

The European Union is one of UNICEF’s largest donors in Lebanon for the period 2013-14; generously contributing €32.66 million to strengthen education and childcare services for the most vulnerable families in Lebanon, including refugees.

Continue reading

UNICEF welcomes the release of 70 Kurdish children after 120 day of captivity

بالعربية

Statement attributable to Hanaa Singer, UNICEF REPRESENTATIVE IN Syria 

GENEVA/ DAMASCUS, 3 October 2014- “UNICEF welcomes the release of 70 Kurdish children after 120 day of captivity. These children were kidnapped on 29 May 2014 while traveling from their home-town of Ai’n Al Arab in the northern Syrian governorate of Aleppo to take their final school examinations.

“The physical and psychological well-being of these children is currently being assessed. We remain deeply concerned about the safety of children and teachers who are still in captivity.

“The abduction, recruitment and use of children in hostilities are grave child rights violations.

“In this time of conflict, it is the obligation of all Parties to ensure that Syrian children be kept out of harm’s way and granted unhindered and safe access to education.”

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For more information:

Christophe Boulierac, UNICEF Geneva, +41-799-639-244, cboulierac@unicef.org
Kumar Tiku, UNICEF Syria, +963 934202330, ktiku@unicef.org
Razan Rashidi, UNICEF Syria, +963 93 354 9020, rrashidi@unicef.org
Juliette Touma, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, +962-79-867-4628, jtouma@unicef.org

STATEMENT ATTRIBUTABLE TO HANAA SINGER, UNICEF REPRESENTATIVE FOR SYRIA (Homs Bombings)

التصريح باالغة العربية

Statement attributable to Hanaa Singer, UNICEF REPRESENTATIVE IN Syria 

 Damascus, 1 October 2014 – “Today’s double vehicle-born bombing close to Akrama Al Makhzomi Elementary School in the Akrama neighbourhood of Homs city was a despicable act against innocent children.

“39 people were killed, including 30 children who were leaving the school after classes.

“Children in Syria continue to bear the brunt of a brutal conflict that has inflicted terrible suffering upon them and their families for more than three and a half years. Renewed efforts are needed to end the senseless cycle of violence.

“All parties to the conflict have an obligation to protect civilians and respect the sanctity of schools as safe havens where children’s right to education can be fulfilled.”

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For more information:

Kumar Tiku, UNICEF Syria,  +963 934202330, ktiku@unicef.org

Razan Rashidi, UNICEF Syria,  +963 93 354 9020, rrashidi@unicef.org

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

Significant new pledges announced but more resources still required for children affected by the Syria crisis

News note

NEW YORK, 24 September 2014 – UNICEF welcomes $347 million in new funding commitments to the No Lost Generation Initiative announced at a meeting held at UNICEF House today.

The new commitments by DfID, USAID, the European Union and other partners will help reduce a $585 million gap in funding for education and protection to safeguard the future of millions of children affected by the conflict in Syria, now in its fourth year.

The No Lost Generation Initiative was launched by a broad coalition of partners to address the long-term impact of the conflict, with the conviction that investment in educating the minds and healing the hearts of the children of Syria is fundamentally an investment in the future of Syria.

The new commitments include:

  • $145 million from the EU for education and protection programmes in Syria and especially in the neighbouring countries.
  • From USAID, a $45 million investment in education over the next four years in Lebanon and up to $45 million by 2019 to improve teaching and learning processes nationwide in public schools in Jordan.
  • Up to $82 million from the UK to bolster education and protection programmes in Syria and across the region.
  • In addition, Norway and Germany pledged $10 million each to the No Lost Generation initiative, while the Netherlands and the Republic of Korea respectively promised $9 million and $1 million.

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About No Lost Generation

No Lost Generation is an initiative by the United Nations, international and non-governmental organizations, and governments, to alleviate the impact of the Syrian crisis on a generation of children and young people in Syria and neighbouring countries. Launched in October 2013, it aims to expand access to education, increase psychosocial support, strengthen child protection, bolster social cohesion and promote peace building so that the children of Syria can build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in more than 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: http://www.unicef.org/

For further information, please contact:

  • Elissa Jobson, UNICEF New York, ejobson@unicef.org; +1 917 930-4521
  • Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, nmekki@unicef.org +1 917 209-1804

 

 

No Lost Generation Initiative – One Year On

الخبر باللغة العربية

Increased investment in education and protection helps
safeguard the future of a generation of children affected by Syria crisis

Millions more children at risk as the crisis deepens 

NEW YORK, 24 September 2014 – Over the last year, an additional 770,000 children affected by the Syria crisis benefitted from some form of education and almost 660,000 children received psychological support.

“Helping the children of Syria is investing in the future of Syria, as today’s children are tomorrow’s doctors, teachers, lawyers and leaders. Investing in this generation is helping them acquire the skills and knowledge they will need to rebuild their communities when peace returns,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “We need to heal their hearts and minds. And there is so much more to be done.”

The deepening crisis in Syria continues to put an entire generation of children at risk, says a progress report released today by the No Lost Generation initiative at a meeting of key government, NGO and UN partners on the margins of the UN General Assembly.

The meeting at UNICEF headquarters marks one year since a coalition of partners used the occasion of the UN General Assembly to call for concerted action to prevent the loss of an entire generation of Syrian children. Governments, host communities and other partners have since made significant progress in reaching more children with education and protection support and services, despite continued conflict, increased displacement and worsening living conditions for many families.

  • Enrolment in formal and non-formal education increased from 169,500 in 2013 to 489,000 in 2014, in neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees.
  • 128,000 pupils have been helped to attend school clubs in volatile cross-line areas in war-torn Syria.
  • In 2014, 72,000 children inside Syria and 587,000 refugee children living in host countries have been provided with essential psychosocial support.
  • 200,000 caregivers in Lebanon have been reached with support programmes designed to promote a nurturing environment and prevent child maltreatment.

The report notes that adolescents are particularly vulnerable and underserved, with anger and frustration at their situations making them more susceptible to the lure of armed groups. Creating opportunities to prevent them from being drawn into violence and conflict is critical.

The No Lost Generation initiative appealed for $885 million to fund education and child protection services in Syria and host countries in 2014. To date $301 million (34%) has been received, leaving a gap of $584 million.

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About No Lost Generation

No Lost Generation is an initiative by the United Nations, international and non-governmental organizations, and governments, to alleviate the impact of the Syrian crisis on children’s learning and psychological wellbeing and address the potential long-term consequences for a generation of children and young people in Syria and neighbouring countries. Launched in October 2013, it aims to expand access to education, increase psychosocial support, strengthen child protection, bolster social cohesion and promote peace building so that the children of Syria can build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

Download the report

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No Lost Generation initiative - One Year Report - Sept 2014 (2209 downloads)

For further information please contact:

Joint WHO – UNICEF statement regarding deaths of children in Idlib, Northern Syria

Amman/Cairo, 17 September 2014: UNICEF and WHO have been shocked and saddened to learn of the deaths of at least 15 young children in Idlib, Syria. The deaths of the children – all of whom were less than two years of age – occurred in districts where a measles immunization campaign had been under way.

Establishing the precise cause of the children’s deaths is vital. To this end, WHO has assigned a team of experts to provide assistance in investigating this event. WHO is also providing advice and protocols for the investigation of adverse events following immunization.

For as long as the facts remain unclear, the suspension of the immunization campaign in both Idlib and Deir Ezzour provinces is a wise step.

However, it is vital that immunization efforts against measles – a disease which is a leading killer of children worldwide – resume in Syria as soon as possible.

Measles is a particular threat to children who have been displaced from their homes and communities, and who are living in camps or other insanitary conditions.

For more information, please call:

  • Rana Sidani, WHO Regional Senior Communication Officer, +201099756506, sidanir@who.int
  • Christian Lindmeier, WHO communication officer, HQ in Geneva,: +41795006552
  • Simon Ingram, Unicef Regional Chief of Communication, +962 79 590 4740, singram@unicef.org
  • Juliette Touma, Unicef Communication &Media Specialist, +962798674628, jtounm@unicef.org

UNICEF to provide school supplies for up to one million conflict-affected Syrian children

Girls attend a remedial French class at a school club in Homs, Syria. © UNICEF/NYHQ2013-1342/Noorani

Girls attend a remedial French class at a school club in Homs, Syria.
© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-1342/Noorani

NEWS NOTE

Damascus, 14 September 2014 – With the ongoing conflict in Syria taking an increasing toll on children’s education, UNICEF is stepping in with key supplies and support for public information to ensure that some of the most conflict-affected children continue to learn. Continue reading

UNICEF strongly condemns the targeting of a school in Al Waer, calls for immediate stop to attacks on educational facilities

STATEMEN

الخبر بالعربية

Statement attributable to Agostino Paganini, UNICEF Representative a.i for Syria

Damascus, 21 August 2014 – UNICEF is gravely concerned by the latest attack on a school in Syria – this time in Al Waer on the western outskirts of the city of Homs.

One prefab classroom was destroyed and two others were damaged in a mortar attack on Al Kindi primary school on the 15th of August. These classrooms were delivered to Al Waer by UNICEF in April 2014.

The internally displaced children who were attending this education facility had already lost their original schools as a result of the conflict.

We have seen all around this region that the sanctity of schools as a safe haven where children right to education is fulfilled has not been respected.

UNICEF calls upon all parties to the conflict to uphold their responsibility to protect children and to protect schools at all times from the effects of the conflict.

end

For more information:

  • Kumar Tiku, UNICEF Syria, ktiku@unicef.org +963 934 202 330
  • Razan Rashidi, UNICEF Syria, rrashidi@unicef.org, +963 933549020

 

Mass global action needed to protect children against polio in Syria, Iraq and region

PRESS RELEASE

الخبر باللغة العربية

Download PDF report

38 confirmed polio cases with 765,000 Syrian children in hard-to-reach areas

Amman/ Cairo, 22 July 2014 – In a report released today, WHO and UNICEF announced completion of the first phase of the biggest polio vaccination campaign ever undertaken in the history of the Middle East. Twenty-five million children under the age of five were reached in seven countries in 37 rounds.

“Despite immense challenges and the desperate conditions around the region, children were vaccinated from three to six times. This gives a glimpse of hope and is largely thanks to thousands of unsung heroes: committed health workers and volunteers who undertook such a formidable task all over the region and inside Syria braving dangers to provide the polio vaccination to children” said Maria Calivis, UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. Continue reading

Syria: Inter-Agency Mission to Mouadamiyah, Rural Damascus

BRIEFING NOTE

الخبر بالعربية

SYRIA: Inter-Agency Mission to Mouadamiyah, Rural Damascus

  • UNICEF this week participated in a cross-line mission to Mouadamiyah al-Sham in Rural Damascus as part of a four-day UN interagency mission to the area which began on 14 July.
  • This is a significant and a welcome break-through in improving access. This was the first time UNICEF was able to reach Mouadamiyah – just 8 KMs from Damascus – since 2012. Continue reading

Joint Statement on Security Council Resolution 2165 on Humanitarian Access in Syria

NEW YORK/ROME, 16 July 2014- We welcome Security Council Resolution 2165 on humanitarian access in Syria, which should enable us to reach up to 2.9 million more people with vital aid. This resolution represents a breakthrough in our efforts to get aid to Syrians in need
As part of our ongoing response to the Syria crisis, we and other heads of agencies and partner NGOs  are working on how best to implement the resolution, as a matter of urgency.

WFP teams on the ground are proceeding immediately to put in place the monitoring mechanism mandated in the resolution. UNICEF has already positioned supplies ready for the first cross-border convoys supported by the new resolution, including blankets, water purification materials, hygiene kits and syringes.

Hungry, homeless children don’t know or care whether they are in a government-controlled area or an opposition-controlled area. They just want food and a safe place to live. Inside Syria, nearly 11 million people need immediate humanitarian aid. We must do everything we can to help them, bringing aid by the most direct routes, whether they are across borders or across conflict lines, and this resolution will help us to achieve that.

While this resolution addresses one challenge, many others remain. Large parts of Syria are a warzone so the conditions are very difficult for aid delivery. There are onerous administrative procedures before convoys are allowed to travel from one place to another. It costs an enormous amount of money to get aid to so many people, and raising funds is difficult.

We reiterate the calls of the Secretary-General and the UN community for all parties to the conflict and those with influence over them to enable unconditional humanitarian access to all people in need without discrimination, using all available routes.

Valerie Amos
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
Ertharin Cousin
Executive Director, World Food Programme
Anthony Lake
Executive Director, UNICEF