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UNICEF scales up emergency response in face of spike in Syrian refugee children & families arriving in Jordan

Amman, 29 July 2012 – With the 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. It will have a capacity of up to 150,000.

Along with partner the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), UNICEF is supporting the site’s water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure to meet the urgent humanitarian needs. Already installed are water bladders, 80 mobile toilets, and 80 showers that will reach up to 5,000 people. Water tankers will be deployed as soon as refugees join the camp.

UNICEF has also provided additional emergency supplies to meet the initial needs of up to 25,000, including basic family water kits, Child Friendly Space (CFS) tents, school-in-a-box sets, early childhood development kits, tarpaulins, plastic mats, and other emergency items. The first CFS has 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, placing increasing strain on facilities. UNICEF provides essential water, sanitation and hygiene services – including around 9,000 baby hygiene kits being distributed – 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.”

UNICEF is appealing for US$17.8 million to support its emergency response in Jordan, of which some US$10.76 million is still required. This includes US$3 million now urgently required to support Za’atari site, to accommodate the growing influx of displaced Syrians.

UNICEF is also providing assistance to tens thousands of displaced Syrians in Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, as well as to affected families who remain in Syria. 

For more information:
Samir Badran, sbadran@unicef.org, UNICEF Jordan, Mobile +962 79 692 6180
Simon Ingram, singram@unicef.orgUNICEF MENA Regional Office, Mobile + 962 79 590 4740

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


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