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Syrian crisis

UNICEF and sister agencies issue largest ever appeal to help Syrians

UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles reports on UNICEF's response to the worsening situation in the Syrian Arab Republic.  Watch in RealPlayer


By Chris Niles

UNICEF and its sister United Nations agencies have mounted the largest ever appeal for funds to meet the needs of the millions of people affected by conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic – including the urgent needs of four million children.

NEW YORK, 7 June 2013— As the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic continues to spiral out of control, UNICEF and its sister United Nations agencies have mounted the largest ever appeal for funds.

They are asking for $4.4 billion dollars for the whole of 2013.

Four million children need assistance

UNICEF estimates 6.8 million people are now affected by the conflict.

Four million Syrian children are in need of immediate assistance.  At least 1.6 million Syrian refugees are living in neighbouring countries such as Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0315/Greco
A young girl who has been displaced by conflict stands amid ancient ruins where she is sheltering in the area of Jebel al Zawiya, Syrian Arab Republic. The ruins have become a source of refuge, as they are less likely to be attacked.

“These are massive figures, but those figures mask a human tragedy. Ordinary women, men and children are bearing the brunt of this crisis,” said United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.

In April, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake joined leading United Nations humanitarian agencies in making an unprecedented joint call for greater urgency amongst the world’s governments to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict, which threatens the entire region. 

“UNICEF calls on all parties to the conflict, and those who have influence on them, to reaffirm the principle that children have no place in war,” said UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes Ted Chaiban.

Increased risk of a ‘lost generation’

In addition to violence, widespread displacement and the collapse of vital services have created chaos and misery.

The arrival of summer brings new dangers associated with disease and poor sanitation.

Neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Lebanon are struggling to cope with the influx of refugees.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0205/Morooka
A doctor examines an infant at a shelter for displaced people in the city of Homs, Syrian Arab Republic. The examination is part of an initiative run by local partners with UNICEF support.

“The needs are great and are growing every single day,” said UNICEF spokesperson Sarah Crowe.

Earlier this year, UNICEF warned of a ‘lost generation’ of Syrian children. As the situation continues to deteriorate, that risk is becoming ever more real.

Needs outstripping resources

Working with partners, UNICEF has managed to reach children in both the Syrian Arab Republic and its neighbouring countries with life-saving support.

This year alone, UNICEF has vaccinated 1.5 million children against measles and provided more than 10 million people with safe water.

More than 200,000 children have been enrolled in school.

But the needs are outstripping resources at rapid pace.

“We’re just not keeping up. The humanitarian effort is huge, but as it escalates, so we have to speed up,” Ms. Crowe said.



UNICEF Photography: Photo of the Week

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