European Union provides additional €500,000 to keep children warm in Syria

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.

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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 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.

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, singram@unicef.org
  • Caroline Gluck, ECHO Regional Information Officer, European Commission, +96264607037 Caroline.Gluck@echofield.eu

German Parliamentary Group seeks information about sustainable solutions in Za’atari Camp

الخبر باللغة العربية

PRESS RELEASE

Borehole 2 in Zaatari camp where tanks fill up from the borehole and transfer to assembly points around the camp to provide fresh drinking water to Syrian refugees. ©UNICEF/Jordan-2014

Borehole 2 in Zaatari camp where tanks fill up from the borehole and transfer to assembly points around the camp to provide fresh drinking water to Syrian refugees. ©UNICEF/Jordan-2014

AMMAN, 23 February 2015 – Six members of the German Parliamentary Group “Arabic Speaking Countries in the Middle East” visited Za’atari Camp on Thursday, 19 February. The delegation met refugees and humanitarian actors, and observed UNICEF’s water supply and sanitation activities.

In December 2014, the Government of Germany, through KFW Development Bank, provided a new grant of EURO 15 million (US $18.5 million) to UNICEF Jordan to sustain essential water, sanitation and hygiene services of vulnerable Syrian refugees in Za’atari refugee camp in the years ahead. Continue reading

Lebanon Street-based Children Report, 2015

الخبر باللغة العربية

Ministry of Labour, ILO, UNICEF, Save the Children launch study on plight of working children on streets in Lebanon

Download report in English PDF

Download report in Arabic PDF

BEIRUT, 16th February 2015 – A study launched today sheds light on the plight of working street-based children in Lebanon. The report, “Children Living and Working on the Streets in Lebanon: Profile and Magnitude”, is the first of its kind in Lebanon to assess the scope and characteristics of the increasingly visible phenomenon of one of the worst forms of child labour.

At the request of the Ministry of Labour in Lebanon, the study was commissioned by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children International (SCI) to understand the reasons behind children living and/ or working on the streets. Their work includes begging, street-based trade and services, and forms of illicit activities among others.

“With the ILO’s support to the Ministry of Labour and other government and non-governmental institutions, children working on the streets were identified as a priority intervention area,” said Deputy Regional Director of the ILO Regional Office for Arab States Frank Hagemann. “Although almost three-quarters of these children originate from Syria, children living and/ or working on the streets are a long-standing challenge in Lebanon. The findings of this new study will allow the ILO to work more effectively with its partners to take children off the streets and offer them a better future.”

While the recent influx of refugees from Syria has resulted in an increase in street-based children, the study reveals that it is not the core cause of the phenomenon.

The research identifies four main driving factors that cause children to live or work on the streets of Lebanon: social exclusion, vulnerability of households, the influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon, and organized crime and exploitation of children.

“Children on the street s are extremely vulnerable to all forms of exploitation and abuse in their daily lives, as well as occupational hazards,” said UNICEF Lebanon’s Representative Annamaria Laurini. “Creating a protective environment, where laws, services, and practices minimize children’s vulnerability is a priority for UNICEF. We are committed to working with the Government and key actors to prevent and address the issue.”

Out of an estimated 1,510 children within the study sample size covering 18 districts in Lebanon, 700 street-based children were interviewed. The vast majority of children living and/or working on the streets were found in urban centres, notably Beirut and Tripoli. The study found that two thirds of street-based children in Lebanon are boys, with over half aged between 10 and 14 years old.

While the numbers are on a manageable scale, the issue is a highly complex one due to links with trafficking and other illicit activities, as well as the socio-economic and legal status of affected children.

“The prevalence of children living or working in the streets is a long-standing issue that poses a persistent challenge that straddles larger socioeconomic issues in Lebanon”, said Save the Children International Lebanon’s Representative Ian Rodgers. “We are committed to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, especially the right of children to education and protection from work that harm them and will make all concerted efforts with the government and relevant civil society to withdraw children from the streets.”

The research identifies recommendations to tackle the phenomenon of street-based children within the framework of Lebanon’s National Action Plan for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Labour, launched in 2013.

Coordinated efforts with relevant actors, including government, international organizations, and civil society are required to support the withdrawal of as many children as possible from the streets, rehabilitate them and prevent the exploitation of vulnerable children.

The study was launched in Beirut under the patronage and in the presence of the Minister of Labour H.E. Sejaan Azzi, with the participation of Members of Parliament and representatives of UN agencies, ministries, embassies, civil society institutions and the media.

For more information, contact:

  • ILO: Salwa Kanaana, Regional Communication and Public Information Officer, email: kanaana@ilo.org, tel: +961 71 505 958
  • UNICEF: Miriam Azar, Communication Specialist, email: miazar@unicef.org, tel: 71 112 297
  • Save the Children International: Sandy Maroun, Media, Advocacy and Communications Manager, email: sandy.maroun@savethechildren.org, tel: +961 70 83 22 91
  • MoL: Hussein Zalghout, email h.zalghout@hotmail.com, tel: +961 (0)3 480 322

 INFOGRAPHICS

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Top EU Humanitarian official visits public school in Lebanon funded by EU and supported by UNICEF

الخبر باللغة العربية

BEIRUT, 30 January 2015 – A top European humanitarian official visited a public school in Lebanon, supported by European Union funding through UNICEF. The European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Mr. Christos Stylianides, accompanied by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst and UNICEF Representative in Lebanon Mrs. Annamaria Laurini, visited the intermediate public school in Geitawi, Beirut today. Continue reading

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/