Japan contributes US$1.3 million to boost access to child protection, water and sanitation services, and hygiene supplies in earthquake affected areas in Syria

Tens of thousands of vulnerable people to benefit from increased provision of lifesaving services and supplies

28 March 2023
Displaced children participate in psychosocial support activities provided by UNICEF-supported volunteers at Stamo collective shelter in rural Lattakia, northwest Syria.
UNICEF/UN0801167/Maher Issa

DAMASCUS, 28 March 2023 – The Government of Japan has contributed US$1.3 million to UNICEF to provide vulnerable children and their families in earthquake affected areas in Syria, clean water, good sanitation, hygiene supplies, and child protection services.

“Living in a clean environment is the most necessary for children and their families who are seriously affected by the earthquake,” said Hirofumi Miyake, Charge d’Affaires and Special Coordinator for Syria. “Under difficult circumstances, it is also crucial to protect children, particularly who are with vulnerable families.” 

In Syria, more than 8.8 million people, including 3.7 million children, have been affected by the deadly earthquakes that struck on 6 February 2023. The situation remains dire and hundreds of thousands of people are still displaced, either in collective shelters, reception centres or in host communities. Family separation and lack of shelter are putting children at greater risk of exploitation and abuse. Many vulnerable children and families are now in urgent need of water, shelter, food, and emergency medical and psychosocial assistance.

Key infrastructure across the country has been affected, including critical water and sanitation systems, such as water pumping and treatment plants, water towers, sewage systems and water tanks in camps for families who were already displaced prior to the earthquake. Further disruptions to the provision of their services increase the risk of waterborne diseases, including cholera and acute watery diarrhoea.

“Unsanitary conditions and unsafe water pose a grave risk to children’s health and wellbeing,” said Angela Kearney, UNICEF Syria Representative. “With this invaluable contribution from the Government of Japan, we will be able to provide more children access to lifesaving supplies and services and equip their families with tools to bring some sense of stability in children’s lives after the deadly quakes,” Kearney said.

The partnership with Japan will help in reaching people in the affected areas with lifesaving water, sanitation and hygiene services and supplies, including through water trucking, solid waste management, desludging of septic tanks as well as the provision of family hygiene kits and other lifesaving supplies. It will support in reaching children and their caregivers with psychological support, including psychological first aid, recreational activities, mental health psychosocial support and parenting sessions, to help them start processing the traumatic experiences.

The Government of Japan is UNICEF’s longstanding and valued partner. Since 2017, it has provided UNICEF’s interventions with more than US$ 92 million to support vulnerable children and families in Syria, which is essential to achieve human security, putting children and women at the centre of our humanitarian assistance.

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