European Commission grants additional €5 million to UNICEF’s Syria crisis response
Amman/Damascus/Brussels, 19 June 2013 – UNICEF’s response to the Syria crisis received a new financial boost recently, with a new €5 million donation from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO).
This new grant will increase ECHO’s contribution to UNICEF’s emergency response to the Syria crisis to €8 million and will help meet the ever increasing needs of the 4 million children affected by the conflict. "Children are always the first to suffer in any crisis, but in times of conflict, they live through and experience things that no child should ever see,” said Jean-Louis De Brouwer, Director of Operations in ECHO. “ECHO and UNICEF are long time partners but never before has our collaboration been as vital as now for the victims of this crisis which is continuing to expand by the day. This additional funding and the relentless work of UNICEF will contribute to protecting and supporting the Syrian children, victims of this terrible conflict."
Of the additional amount, €3 million will finance programmes in Jordan to provide Syrian children and their families with more opportunities for psychosocial support and better access to water, sanitation and hygiene, in camps as well as in host communities. “Some 53% of Syrian refugees in Jordan are children. This is not their conflict, yet they are bearing the brunt of the suffering,” says Dominique Hyde, UNICEF Representative in Jordan. “Providing them with clean water and safe places where they can play and be children again is essential. ECHO’s support is critical in ensuring the continuation of these lifesaving efforts.”
For the first time, funds are also going to support UNICEF’s programmes inside Syria. A total of €2 million will help provide 50,000 internally displaced persons with hygiene kits and other essential items and will contribute to increasing access to water supply and improved sanitation facilities in public centres. “We have reached a point where the conflict is touching every single Syrian child one way or another,” said Youssouf Abdeljelil UNICEF Representative in Syria. “We must protect the children of Syria from becoming a lost generation and deeply rely on the support of partners such as ECHO to do so.”
Last month, Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, visited Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, now home to more than 120,000 Syrian refugees – half of them children. Georgieva interacted with children at a UNICEF-supported child friendly space – one of 30 others in Za’atari where children get together for learning and recreational activities under the supervision of trained Child Protection staff. Just last week, UNICEF revised its funding needs for the Syria crisis. The agency needs more than $470 million for its programmes for Syrian children in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt during the course of this year.