UNICEF Bulgaria launches a fundraising campaign to support children and families affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria
The UN Children’s Fund is working on the ground in both countries to provide emergency supplies and protection to children and families
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SOFIA, 10 February 2023 г. – UNICEF Bulgaria launches a fundraising campaign to help the children and families affected by the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. Thousands of children and families remain at risk and need urgent support.
UNICEF is working with partners in both countries to provide vulnerable children with critical services such as winter clothing, safe water, child protection and psycho-social support.
Regarding child protection, UNICEF is working to identify separated and unaccompanied children and work to reunite them with family, as well as providing children with psychosocial support as many children were likely traumatized by the earthquake.
Everyone can support UNICEF’s efforts by sending an SMS with the text UNICEF to 1021 and donating 5 leva one-off. VAT and fees are not charged to subscribers of all mobile operators. Everyone can also donate to the bank account of UNICEF Bulgaria with IBAN: BG34RZBB91551065034919 with the description EARTHQUAKE.
NOVA Broadcasting Group will also support the fundraising campaign to help the population affected by the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. One lev from each SMS donation received during the three nights of the charity mini-season of ‘Your face sounds familiar for every child’ on NOVA on 12, 13, and 14 February will be in support of the children and families affected by the earthquakes. The rest of the funds raised will be used for UNICEF’s three causes for children in Bulgaria.
‘It’s heartbreaking to see the disaster’s scale and consequences. UNICEF is on the ground, working day and night to provide lifesaving assistance to the children and families in Türkiye and Syria affected by the earthquakes’, said Christina de Bruin, UNICEF Representative in Bulgaria. ‘With the help of our donors, UNICEF can support children and their families when they need it the most. Help us respond to this crisis and ensure a brighter future for the children impacted’.
The death toll in Türkiye and Syria passes 20,000, and more than 70,000 have been injured.
In Türkiye, the two earthquakes affected an estimated population of around 13.5 million people across 10 provinces, children account for more than a third of them. More than 6,400 buildings have been destroyed, and even more damaged, including hospitals, schools, and other critical infrastructure. UNICEF is coordinating with the Government of Türkiye and the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency on the emerging needs linked to the wider humanitarian response. Our immediate priority is to ensure children and families affected receive the support they desperately need.
UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Family and Social Services (MoFSS) to ensure the protection of children in the affected provinces and has already evacuated hundreds of children living in children’s homes and other institutions to safe locations.
UNICEF is also supporting the Government on providing warm winter clothing and blankets for thousands of children and babies, hygiene kits for displaced families, and mother-baby kits.
In Syria, UNICEF has already reached 12,000 people with water supplies and hygiene kits. Thousands of families are exposed to the elements when temperatures regularly drop below freezing and snow and freezing rain are common.
Families with children are sleeping in the streets, malls, schools, mosques, bus stations, and under bridges and/or staying with their children in open areas for fear of going home.Hundreds of buildings are damaged or destroyed, and hundreds of families are still trapped.
One immediate focus is on ensuring affected children and families have access to safe drinking water and sanitation services – critical in preventing illness in the early days of a crisis. Regarding child protection, UNICEF is working to identify separated and unaccompanied children and work to reunite them with family, as well as providing children with psychosocial support as many children were likely traumatized by the earthquake.
Ensuring vulnerable children have access to nutrition and education is another key priority.
UNICEF spokesperson James Elder spoke about the “desperate” situation on the ground in north-west Syria following the recent earthquakes and following more than 10 years of conflict. Elder also underlined that aid cannot be politicised, and urged the international community to show solidarity and support. “This is an economic crisis. There have been 11 years of war. Infrastructure is destroyed, schools destroyed, homes destroyed. A cholera outbreak has been tormenting people along with a biting winter. Then at four o'clock on Monday morning, there is an earthquake. It is unspeakable, but this is what the people are facing, and this is why it is so fundamentally important to do everything to reach them. UNICEF has had, for a decade, trusted partners in these areas that we continue to work, though much more needs to be done.”