We’re building a new UNICEF.org.
As we swap out old for new, pages will be in transition. Thanks for your patience – please keep coming back to see the improvements.

Press centre

Press release

UNICEF and Partners Rush to Provide Assistance as Thousands of Syrians Cross Border Into Northern Iraq

ERBIL, IRAQ, 19 August 2013 - As thousands of Syrians flood into Iraq fleeing from the ongoing violence in Syria, UNICEF and partners are rushing to meet their urgent needs.

The recently constructed pontoon bridge at Peshkhabour in northern Iraq's Duhok governorate saw over 20,000 Syrians cross the Tigris river since Thursday with the influx expected to continue over the coming days.

"Our staff at the Peshkhabour crossing point in northern Iraq say many of the new arrivals are exhausted and in urgent need of water and shelter as summer temperatures reach 45C," said UNICEF's Representative to Iraq, Dr. Marzio Babille. "Along with our partners, we are doing everything possible to ensure all needs of these new arrivals are immediately met."

Thus far, UNICEF and local partner Harikar, have distributed more than 125,000 litres of bottled water at Peshkhabour since Thursday, and 4 tankers of safe water to cover additional needs.

UNICEF and the local Department of Social Affairs and ACTED are also supporting UNHCR and IRC at the crossing point to ensure unaccompanied and separated children are identified, registered and provided with all necessary support.

UNICEF has also procured 60,000 litres of bottled water and 20,000 biscuits for under-5 children to be distributed amongst the around 3000 refugees sheltered at the Kawargosh transit site near Erbil.

The vast majority of those crossing are children, women and elderly persons with many having camped in tents by the river for the past few days waiting for the crossing point to open.

UNICEF, along with UNHCR and the Kurdistan Regional Government, have identified water, sanitation facilities, shaded areas and health services as urgent needs families require while they wait for registration and transportation to transit sites.

Local authorities are providing emergency health services at Peshkhabour and made hundreds of buses available to transport refugees onwards to Dohuk, Erbil and Suleimanyah.


UNICEF works in more than 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: http://www.unicef.org

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

For more information please contact:
Jaya Murthy, jmurthy@unicef.org, Tel: +964 780 196 4524
Salam Abdulmunem, sabdulmunem@unicef.org, Tel: +964 780 912 6782




New enhanced search