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UNICEF Ambassador Pau Gasol Visits Syrian Refugees in Iraq

DOHUK, IRAQ / BARCELONA, SPAIN (July 30, 2013) – UNICEF Ambassador and National Basketball Association (NBA) star Pau Gasol, returned today to Barcelona, Spain following a visit with Syrian refugees in Iraq.

Pau Gasol and a Syrian refugee child

© UNICEF Comité Español/Iraq/July2013

UNICEF Spanish National Committee´s Ambassador Pau Gasol, with a girl that attends a school he visited in the Domiz refugee camp, northern Iraq.

More than 1.7 million people — of which around 50 percent are children — have fled the armed conflict in Syria into neighboring countries, including more than 160,000 in Iraq.

“I met children who have fled from a tragic situation in Syria and are now urgently dependent on humanitarian aid,” said Gasol, a two-time NBA Champion with the Los Angeles Lakers. “It is shocking to learn what these children, who have been affected by the conflict in Syria, have experienced. No child should have to endure such violence and destruction, or be deprived of the basic services they need to grow and develop to fulfill their potential.”

“Humanitarian needs, especially for food, water and shelter, are very severe,” said Ahmedou Bahah, head of UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programs in Syria, who accompanied the convoy.

In Iraq, Pau met a number of children including a 10-year-old boy named Sulinam who told him, “in Syria, our shop was destroyed. I want the war to end there so that I can return home and my brothers and sisters and I can go back to school.”

Some of the UNICEF responses to the crisis that Gasol saw during his visit include: the provision of clean drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities, primary education, health care and child protection services.

To date, inside Syria and in neighboring countries hosting Syrian refugees, UNICEF has provided 10 million people with access to safe water, more than 1.9 million children with vaccinations against measles and 260,000 with access to education, among other responses.

“Providing these services is a huge job,” said Gasol. “The needs are enormous and much more help is needed.”

The humanitarian crisis related to the Syrian conflict is unprecedented with the UN having made its largest ever humanitarian appeal as well as calling on governments to find an immediate end to the tragedy. The lack of funding to respond to the emergency is severely limiting UNICEF’s ability to respond. UNICEF urgently needs $300 million to continue to provide essential services to help Syrian children.

“Providing these services is a huge job,” said Gasol. “The needs are enormous and much more help is needed.”

How to Help

For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution to UNICEF's relief efforts, please contact the U.S. Fund for UNICEF:

Website: www.unicefusa.org/syria
Toll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDS

Text: SYRIA to 864233 to donate $10.
Mail: 125 Maiden Lane, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038

As with any emergency, in the event that donations exceed anticipated needs, the U.S. Fund will redirect any excess funds to children in greatest need.

Pau Gasol and UNICEF

Pau Gasol has visited five countries as an ambassador for UNICEF, including South Africa (2005) and Angola (2007) where he visited HIV/AIDS-related projects, Ethiopia (2010) where he visited programs supporting the “Schools for Africa” initiative, Chad (2012) where he visited programs related to the nutritional crisis in the Sahel, and Iraq (2013) where he visited programs supporting refugees from the conflict in Syria. Pau has been helping to promote UNICEF’s work on behalf of child survival and development for a decade both in Spain and in the United States.


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when ZERO children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

For additional information, please contact:

Chris Weiller, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2631, cweiller@unicefusa.org

*A one-time donation of $10.00 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Donor must be age 18+ and all donations must be authorized by the account holder (e.g. parents). By texting YES, the user agrees to the terms and conditions. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of the Unicef by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.hmgf.org/t. Message & Data Rates May Apply. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to short code 864233; text HELP to 864233 for help. Privacy Policy


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