Statement by Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, on Syrian children freezing to death while crossing from Syria to Lebanon

The world has no excuses! We cannot continue failing Syria’s children

20 January 2018

AMMAN, 20 January 2018 - “It is tragic that at least 12 Syrians including two children died in Eastern Lebanon near the Masna’ border crossing with Syria. 

“Syrian people continue to risk their lives and the lives of their children in a desperate search for safety and shelter.

“Our thoughts are with the families who lost their loved ones, victims of a war that soon enters its eight year.

“More children could be among the dead as residents in the area and the Lebanese authorities continue to look for people who are reportedly trapped in the mountainous in freezing temperatures and snow.

“Children in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, the State of Palestine, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt and in many other countries across the globe living in conflict or impacted by conflict struggle every winter to keep warm.

“UNICEF and partners are helping families to cope with the harsh weather. UNICEF is distributing blankets, warm clothes, and fuel to heat schools.

“The death of these two Syrian children is however a reminder that much more needs to be done.

“The brutal wars have to stop and we all need to step up our generosity and assistance for the most affected children. We have no excuse. We cannot continue failing children!


Notes for editors:
• Since the start of winter, UNICEF has been helping families to cope with the harsh weather.
• As part of its package of assistance to families in need, UNICEF is distributing blankets, warm clothes, and fuel to heat schools in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and the State of Palestine,
• Funding constraints are challenging UNICEF’s ability to continue this assistance.  So far, UNICEF received only half of the funding needed for winter response.
• If urgent funding is not received, UNICEF will not be able to reach nearly 800,000 children with winter assistance.

For more on UNICEF’s winter response visit

For more information contact:
Juliette TOUMA, UNICEF Regional Office, +962-79-867-4628,
Hedinn HALLDORSSON, UNICEF Lebanon, +961-81-696-990,
Tamara KUMMER, UNICEF Regional Office, +962-79-588-550,
Christopher Tidey, UNICEF New York, +1 917 340 3017,


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