Kuwait contributes US$17 million to boost delivery of essential services to children impacted by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria

19 June 2023
Naya, a four-year-old girl, is seen playing with a ball while talking to a UNICEF partner during a psychosocial activity in a shelter in Stamo village, located in Lattakia governorate in Syria.
UNICEF/UN0792071/Ameen Haddad
On 20 February 2023, Naya, a four-year-old girl, is seen playing with a ball while talking to a UNICEF partner during a psychosocial activity in a shelter in Stamo village, located in Lattakia governorate in Syria.

AMMAN/DAMASCUS /GENEVA, 19 June 2023 - The State of Kuwait has contributed US$17 million in humanitarian funding towards UNICEF support for delivering essential education, nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene services and supplies to earthquake-affected children and families in Türkiye and Syria.

Millions of children in Turkiye and Syria have been affected by the deadly earthquakes that struck in February 2023. The situation remains dire for them. In Syria, the water and sewage infrastructure was severely damaged putting 6.5 million people at elevated risk of waterborne diseases, including cholera. An estimated 51,000 children under the age of five are likely to suffer from wasting. Thousands of schools were impacted and 1.9 million children have had their education disrupted, with many schools still being used as shelters.

In Türkiye, the earthquakes have created a disaster of colossal proportions, with around 2.4 million people living in formal and informal settlements in earthquake affected provinces as of June 2023. Damage to school infrastructure has impacted access to education for almost 4 million children, including over 350,000 refugee and migrant children, and around 218,000 teachers. Severe damage to water and sanitation infrastructure has limited access to clean water for at least two million people.

In Syria, the new funding will enable UNICEF to continue providing essential lifesaving assistance as well as support early recovery activities. The activities will include the rehabilitation of damaged water and sanitation systems and schools as well as the provision of preventive and curative nutrition services.

“These children were highly vulnerable already before the deadly earthquakes. They were grappling with the impact of the conflict, displacements, disease outbreaks and deepening economic downturn,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “It is critical we stand with them. This new funding is a crucial step towards providing them the sustained support they need,” Khodr said.

In Türkiye, the generous contribution from Kuwait will enable UNICEF to provide rehabilitation of water supplies, support to water utility companies, provision of hygiene supplies and sanitation services to mitigate the risks of any disease outbreak. The funding will enable also continued access to quality education and learning opportunities including early learning, in the earthquake affected areas and those serving internally displaced children and adolescents affected by the earthquakes. The Kuwait contribution will also support nutrition services, with a focus on children living in informal settings.

“The disaster has left a long-term impact on children and families in the affected areas. While UNICEF and partners continue to deliver essential services, the funding from the State of Kuwait will contribute to UNICEF’s long-term recovery efforts,” said Phillip Cori, UNICEF Regional Director ad interim for Europe and Central Asia.  

The new Kuwaiti funding comes in addition to earlier contributions to health and nutrition, education, child and social protection and WASH for children in Syria. Since 2013, the State of Kuwait has provided about US$ 77 million in humanitarian funding for UNICEF’s support to children across the country.

UNICEF remains committed to working closely with Kuwait and other partners to address the urgent needs of children affected by emergencies and conflicts, upholding their rights and helping to realize their potential.

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