DAMASCUS/AMMAN, 21 July 2012 - Despite the upsurge in fighting in Damascus and elsewhere in Syria this week, UNICEF is continuing to deliver essential aid and services to thousands of children and women.
The violence has displaced large numbers of people who have been forced to abandon their homes and seek safety with relatives or in schools and mosques kept open for the purpose. UNICEF is directing a large part of its relief effort to these locations, working alongside a large number of local charitable organisations.
Today, family packages, consisting of Hygiene Kits, Baby Kits and children’s food baskets (mainly high-protein biscuits, cheese, jam and halawa) were sent to four schools housing displaced people. The supplies were sufficient for 1,200 families. The security situation prevented aid from reaching two of the targeted locations.
On Sunday, UNICEF plans to deliver a full “family package” of hygiene and other supplies to some 10,600 people, mainly women and children, sheltering in around 15 schools in different parts of Damascus. Once logistical issues are addressed this number will be rapidly increased.
“The situation is still evolving and security concerns for our staff and partners are a continuous challenge,” said UNICEF Syria Representative, Youssouf Abdel-Jelil. “But the needs among children and families displaced by the violence of recent days are enormous, whether in food, water and sanitation or other basic supplies. We are doing our utmost to respond, using whatever means we have at our disposal.”
After security, the most serious concern is transport as fuel is in increasingly short supply. For the time being, UNICEF relies on vehicles provided by the World Food Programme, NGO partners or private contractors.
On Wednesday, in coordination with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNICEF managed to deliver a truckload of essential non-food items to displaced families in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp – an area which has seen particularly heavy fighting. Recreation kits were also delivered.
“These supplies were greatly welcomed by the people there,” said UNICEF Syria Deputy Representative, Eric Durpaire. “Great credit goes to our drivers and the rest of the team involved because they undertook this operation while heavy shelling was going on and at great personal risk.”
Since January 2012, UNICEF and its partners in Syria have reached 190,000 people with humanitarian assistance, including more than 145,000 children.
UNICEF’s humanitarian activities are undertaken in cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and a number of other partners. Currently, UNICEF has both national and international staff on the ground in Syria.
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
Sarah Crowe, UNICEF Spokesperson,
Tel + 1 212 326 7206, Mobile: +1 646 209 1590,
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Spokesperson,
Tel + 41 22 909 5713, Mobile +41 79 303 0541,