AMMAN, 29 July 2012 – With intensified conflict in Syria causing a dramatic increase in the number of Syrian children and families fleeing to Jordan, UNICEF is rapidly scaling up its emergency assistance.
UNICEF is providing essential support to the new Za’atari tented site near Mafraq in northern Jordan, which is expected to receive its first 5,000 Syrian refugees within days. Za’atari will have a capacity of up to 150,000 people.
Along with its partner the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief, UNICEF is supporting the site’s water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure to meet urgent needs. Already installed are water bladders, 80 mobile toilets, and 80 showers for up to 5,000 people. Water tankers will be deployed as soon as refugees arrive.
UNICEF has provided additional supplies to meet the initial needs of up to 25,000 people, including basic family water kits, Child Friendly Space tents, school-in-a-box sets, early childhood development kits, tarpaulins, plastic mats and other items. The first tents for children have already been erected.
“We are witnessing a large-scale movement of children and families across Syria’s southern borders into Jordan, which is creating a developing humanitarian crisis,” said Dominique Hyde, UNICEF Jordan Representative. “UNICEF and partners are in a race against time to get clean water, toilets and showers ready at Za’atari before the first displaced Syrian families arrive here within days.”
More than 13,000 Syrians have arrived at the Jordan refugee transit sites since the beginning of July, almost half in the past week alone, straining facilities. UNICEF provides water, sanitation and hygiene services – including 9,000 baby hygiene kits – at the four transit sites, along with child protection and education.
The sites were intended to hold 2,160 new arrivals, but have now reached a record high with more than 10,000 refugees – over four times the capacity. More than 38,800 Syrians in Jordan are registered as refugees or awaiting registration.
“More than half of all displaced Syrians are children and adolescents, who continue to face psychosocial distress from experiencing violence and displacement. We are seeing an upsurge in the number of women accompanied by their children,” Ms. Hyde said.
UNICEF has appealed for $17.8 million to support its emergency response in Jordan, of which some $10.76 million is still required. This includes $3 million to support Za’atari site to accommodate the growing influx of displaced Syrians.
UNICEF is also providing assistance to tens of thousands of displaced Syrians in Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, as well as to affected families who remain in Syria.
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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