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.”

Response in Numbers