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

Japan provides $500,000 to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable in Northern Bekaa, Lebanon.

Safe water and adequate sanitation to be provided with funds

Beirut, 5 Nov. 2014 – The Government of Japan has contributed $500,000 to the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) emergency response to the Syrian refugee children and women and Lebanese, most marginalized communities.

“Water and Sanitation is one of our top priorities to assist Lebanon. Access to clean drinking water and sanitation is crucial for the safety and health of the people, particularly for children and women.” stated H.E. Mr. Seiichi Otsuka, the Japanese Ambassador to Lebanon. “UNICEF and its partner organizations have worked hard to improve clean water and sanitation facilities, but still more supports are needed. Japan continues to assist the provision of necessary facilities for the vulnerable,”

During the duration of the project, thousands of women and children under-5 in the most vulnerable municipalities in Lebanon’s North Bekaa valley will benefit from improved access to safe water, rehabilitation of water systems and basic water and sanitation emergency supplies.

“With the approach of the winter season and the continued influx of refugees into Lebanon it is urgent that we meet their basic needs as quickly as possible”, said Ms. Annamaria Laurini, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon. “We are very grateful to the people of Japan. Their generous donation will help us ensure that the most vulnerable children are spared from waterborne diseases and are provided with the essential water and sanitation services that will guarantee them a chance to grow up in good health.”

Through the provision of safe water, construction of latrines, provision of household filters to vulnerable refugee and host families and intensive hygiene promotion sessions the likelihood of water-related diseases will be mitigated amongst the refugee and host communities.

UNICEF in coordination with the Ministry of Energy and Water, local water authorities and municipalities most affected by the Syrian crisis will select priority WASH projects for immediate delivery to reduce the strain on local communities.

According to UNHCR, Lebanon is currently the country with the world’s highest concentration of refugees compared to its total population, hosting more than 1.1 million registered refugees, with more than half of which are children under 18. This large influx of refugees has put an immense strain on Lebanon’s water and sanitation infrastructure, which was already stressed prior to the Syria crisis.

For more information, please contact:

UNICEF:

Soha Boustani, Chief of Communications, tel: +961 3 236 167, email: sboustani@unicef.org

Salam Abdulmunem, Communications Specialist, tel: +961 7 996 605, email: sabdulmunem@unicef.org

Embassy of Japan:

Political Section, tel: +961 1 989 751 (ext. 202)

Economic/Economic Cooperation Section, tel: +961 1 989 751 (ext.203)

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 (2430 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