Geneva Palais briefing note: Nearly seven years since beginning of war in Syria, children continue to be killed, injured, displaced
This is a summary of what was said by Fran Equiza, UNICEF Representative in Syria– to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
GENEVA, 6 February 2018 – In the first month of this year, nearly 60 children were reportedly killed across Syria in relentless violence in East Ghouta, Damascus, Idlib and Afrin. Many more have been injured in the ongoing fighting.
January was a devastating month for children in Syria. UNICEF reminds all parties to the conflict of their obligation to protect children at all times.
Escalating violence in the past days in villages around Idlib have reportedly killed civilians including one woman and four children.
On 4 February, attacks on a UNICEF-supported hospital in Ma’arrat An Numan put the health centre out of service. UNICEF is gathering more information on casualties including children and the extent of damage. This is the fourth reported attack on a hospital in Syria this year alone.
On the night of 1 February, a UNICEF-rehabilitated water pump station in KafrOmeim, Saraqab, in Idlib, was bombed and is now out of service. The pumping station had been rehabilitated in 2015 and served 18,000 people.
The humanitarian situation in Idlib is deteriorating. Schools are closed in many areas due to violence and local sources report shortages and price hikes of basic supplies including food , medicine and fuel.
Just recently, between 15 December and 22 January, close to a quarter of a million people have been displaced in and around Idlib governorate due to the ongoing fighting, with people moving to the central, western and northern parts of the governorate.
The UN was able to resume cross-border deliveries into Idlib on 31 January. On 1 February, UNICEF sent in six trucks of supplies including essential health supplies, nutrition supplies for 8,000 people, blankets for 25,000 children and recreation kits for 40,000 children.
Today, the 6th of February, UNICEF is sending another 14 trucks with health and nutrition supplies as well as water and sanitation supplies and non-food-items.
In western rural Aleppo, through UNICEF implementing partners, we continue to reach children fleeing the violence in Idlib in 10 camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) with recreational activities, psycho-social support and mine risk education.
Also in western rural Aleppo, UNICEF started water trucking as a response to the increasing needs for safe drinking water in several camps receiving IDPs from Idlib. The response aims to ultimately reach about 100,000 people in 40 IDP camps.
Since 20 January, the intensification of fighting in Afrin has reportedly forced an estimated 15,000 people to flee from rural areas to Afrin city where they are hosted by residents or taking shelter in public schools and unfinished buildings.
UNICEF’s partners were able to resume some child protection activities in the Robar IDP camp, reaching around 110 children with recreational activities and Mine Risk Education. Access is still very, very difficult.
On 2 February, an explosive remnant of war detonated in a school yard in Jdedet AlFadel suburb while children were playing football. The explosion killed one child and severely injured eight children who are hospitalized and remain in critical medical condition. UNICEF continues its programme in Mine Risk Education.
Children are bearing the brunt of intensifying violence in East Ghouta where they have lived under siege since 2013. Approximately 120 children are in need of urgent medical evacuation.
East Ghouta accounts for 95 per cent of people living under siege in Syria today.
The last UN convoy into East Ghouta was end of November last year.
Access is extremely limited. We must be able to reach children in need of humanitarian assistance, urgently and without restrictions, wherever they are in Syria. We demand access for convoys on a weekly basis. The various parties to the conflict can make that happen by immediately allowing humanitarian workers to reach them with life-saving assistance.
Notes for editors:
Photo and video assets available here: https://weshare.unicef.org/Package/2AM4080EBUGC
For more information please contact:
Joe English, UNICEF New York, jenglish@unicef,org +1 917 893 0692
Salam Al-Janabi, UNICEF Syria, firstname.lastname@example.org, +963 950044371
Juliette Touma, UNICEF MENA Regional Office, email@example.com , +962 798 674 628
Tamara Kummer, UNICEF MENA Regional Office, firstname.lastname@example.org ,+ 962 797 588 8550
Christophe Boulierac, UNICEF Geneva, Tel: +41 (0)22 909 5716 , Mobile: +41 (0) 799639244 , email@example.com