Map of Syria
UNICEF photo: A young girl receives a dose of oral polio vaccine from a health worker at Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari Primary Health Care Centre in Damascus during the UNICEF-supported immunization campaign. © UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0924/Omar Sanadiki A young girl receives a dose of oral polio vaccine from a health worker at Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari Primary Health Care Centre in Damascus during the UNICEF-supported immunization campaign.

Syrian Arab Republic


In 2014, UNICEF and partners plan for:
2.2 million

children vaccinated against measles

2 million

emergency-affected people access safe drinking water

2.9 million

children receive essential educational material

2014 Requirements: US$193,792,134

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Humanitarian situation


Total affected population: 10.8 million
Total affected children: 5.08 million

Total people to be reached in 2014: 6,800,000
Total children to be reached in 2014: 5,740,000

The impact of four years of conflict in Syria has been devastating for millions of children. Unrelenting violence, grave child rights violations, massive population displacement, and damage to infrastructure and essential services has left 10.8 million people in need of essential humanitarian support, of whom over 5 million are children. Many displaced people live in collective centres or private unfinished residential areas with very poor conditions. Access to power is limited, the quantity and quality of drinking water inadequate, and sanitation facilities poor. An estimated 3 million children are displaced, one million children are out of school, and another million are at risk of dropping out due to insecurity. Low school attendance rates are confirmed, especially in hard-to-reach areas, with rates as low as 36 per cent. There is an acute lack of learning spaces, with one in five schools destroyed, damaged, or used for other purposes. A lack of access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation coupled with the deteriorating food security situation is raising serious concerns about the nutritional status of children, while the collapsing health care and water systems are exposing children to infectious diseases. Only 47 per cent of hospitals are fully functioning and availability of safe drinking water has been reduced by at least 50 per cent compared to pre-crisis levels, with some locations only able to supply as little as 5 litres per person per day. These vulnerabilities were compounded in October 2013, when the first case of wild polio virus since 1999 was confirmed inside Syria by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 36 reported cases to date. In mid-2014 a measles outbreak was also reported, with 160 confirmed cases and over 2,000 suspected cases in the first half of 2014 alone – double the number of reported cases for the whole of the previous year.

Humanitarian strategy

2014 Revised Programme Targets


  • 870,000 internally displaced children and women have access to primary health care
  • 2,500,000 children under five vaccinated against polio
  • 2,200,000 children vaccinated against measles


  • 2 million people supported to access safe drinking water through local water supply interventions
  • 700,000 IDPs access proper water, sanitation and hygiene items and messages
  • 300,000 school children access proper WASH facilities and education

Child protection

  • 150,000 children benefit from psychosocial services
  • 350,000 caregivers and children access messages on psychosocial well-being
  • 500,000 children benefit from winter supplies such as clothes and blankets


  • 1,000,000 out-of-school children access self-learning materials and accelerated learning textbooks in the 2014/15 school year
  • 2,900,000 children receive essential education material
  • 360,000 children and adolescents reached with remedial, vocational and life-skills education


  • 400,000 internally displaced children under five screened for acute malnutrition
  • 150,000 children 6 to 59 months receive multi-micronutrient supplements

During the remaining half of 2014, UNICEF will continue to scale-up life-saving interventions based on needs and across conflict lines, with a particular focus on routine vaccinations, special campaigns for polio and measles, services to prevent malnutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services with attention to the prevention of water-borne diseases and the reduction of water insecurity. UNICEF will continue to work with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to sustain the national water supply system with treatment chemicals and maintenance to benefit an estimated 16.5 million people.

Inside Syria UNICEF will continue advocacy and programmes targeting the protection and safety of vulnerable communities no matter their location, with a focus on hard-to-reach areas. Child protection programmes inside Syria will continue to expand with a focus on scaling up access to psychosocial support and related child protection services through child friendly spaces, awareness raising and social mobilisation. Protection advocacy to prevent and halt grave child rights violations will continue, including through the monitoring and reporting mechanism (MRM) to document cases of grave violations against child rights including attacks on schools and hospitals. Momentum on the ‘No Lost Generation’ strategy will be maintained through the provision of an integrated package of education, child protection and adolescent development programmes to reach children with equitable access to quality education. This includes interventions such as remedial education, construction of prefabricated classrooms, self-learning opportunities that allow children to continue learning in the face of insecurity, early childhood development, psychosocial support and provision of school supplies. Preparations are underway for the 2014/15 school year, including for a Back to Learning campaign. Winterisation planning is underway to ensure timely support is in place to support Syrian children and their families cope during the cold months including through distribution of clothing and blankets.

Building the capacity of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and other NGO partners for scaling up interventions and sustained services forms a key component of the UNICEF humanitarian strategy in Syria. UNICEF will continue to work with a network of partners on programme response across the country, with field offices and programme facilitators in key locations monitoring supplies, services and the situation of Syrian children.

Results 2014 (January to June)

Despite the challenging operational environment, UNICEF and partners have reached millions of people inside Syria with lifesaving assistance in the first half of 2014. In partnership with the ICRC, UNICEF provided chlorine supplies for water treatment in all 14 governorates, benefitting 16.5 million people, as well as fuel and generators to ensure sustained operation of pumping stations during frequent power outages. From January to May 2014, UNICEF provided 460,000 people with access to clean and safe drinking water through water tankering, distribution of Aquatabs, temporary storage of water, household water treatment, mobile water treatment and pumping units. UNICEF also distributed hygiene supplies including soap and washing powder to benefit some 245,000 people.

The Ministry of Health (MoH), in partnership with WHO and UNICEF, has undertaken monthly polio immunization rounds since December 2013. The May 2014 round reached 2.8 million children under five years across all 14 governorates, including 85,000 children in hard-to-reach areas. In June 2014, UNICEF and WHO supported the MoH to undertake a measles vaccination campaign reaching over 746,000 children from 6 months to 10 years of age. UNICEF also provided 6.5 million doses of vitamin A to be used during the measles campaign and for routine vaccinations. UNICEF has supported nutrition services including the provision of micronutrient supplementation and complementary food to 74,121 children. Over 124,000 vulnerable children under 5 have been screened for acute malnutrition with those identified supported in treatment, and a nutrition assessment has been carried out in most governorates. Since the beginning of the year, 158,368 children and women were provided access to primary health care through mobile teams and fixed health centres.

Under the nationwide 2013/14 ‘Back to Learning’ campaign, UNICEF provided 1 million children with school bags and other teaching and learning materials. Information from field trips and partners indicates that these education supplies have encouraged internally displaced families to send children to school and nonformal education programmes to continue their learning. In 2014, some 255,000 children in Syria accessed non-formal education and 50,000 children are receiving psychosocial support in Child Friendly Spaces (CFS), Adolescent Friendly Spaces, school clubs, and Child Protection Unit outreach initiatives.

Funding requirements

In line with Syria’s inter-agency revised 2014 Strategic Response Plan, UNICEF is requesting US$193.8 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children in Syria. As of 30 June 2014, US$55.7 million, or 29 percent of funds, were available against the appeal. Additional humanitarian funding is critical to enabling UNICEF to support the scale-up of life-saving WASH, immunization, nutrition and other services to meet the increasing humanitarian needs of Syrian children.

1 Target include IDP children reached through mobile clinics, and those who benefit from the supply and distribution of IEHK, midwifery kits, diarrhea kits and other essential health kits to ensure continuous function of PHCs and SARC clinics and mobile teams.
2 The original Syria HAC target of 2 million people for water items and messages was corrected to reflect the 700,000 target. The target of 10 million people supported through the piped water network was revised to 16.5 million in 2014. UNICEF targets for WASH interventions have reduced due to difficulty in accessing populations in hard to reach areas.
3 This indicator captures cumulative number of people accessing safe drinking water through water tankering, distribution of Aquatabs, temporary storage of water, household water treatment, mobile treatment and pumping units, and fuel for generators.
4 Affected population reached with periodic distribution of hygiene items including soap, women sanitary napkins in addition to family and baby hygiene kits. This is coupled with dissemination of hygiene promotion messages.
5 Beneficiaries of psychosocial support include children and adolescents receiving psychosocial support in Child Friendly Spaces (CFS), Adolescent Friendly Spaces, school clubs, and Child Protection Units (CPU).
6 This indicator is valid for the ongoing remedial classes at the schools clubs. As a continuing activity, 2013 results represent additional coverage to ongoing 2012 achieved coverage.
7 The Cluster/ Sector coordination budget line is now included in the cost for each relevant section (WASH, Education, Child Protection and Nutrition).