NEW YORK (June 29, 2012) — UNICEF urgently requires $14.4 million to meet the emergency needs of a growing number of Syrian refugee children and young people.
Since the crisis in Syria began, 86,000 Syrians—50% of them children and young people—have registered as refugees in four neighboring countries. It is estimated that the total number of refugees will increase to as many as 185,000 by December 2012.
Some 90,000 of those refugees will be children with specific needs whom UNICEF aims to reach by the end of this year with vaccines, education, protection services, clean water and sanitation. This is more than triple the initial number of refugee children identified for assistance.
The revised Syria Regional Response Plan, released June 28, in Geneva at a meeting of the Syria Humanitarian Forum, outlines an expanded humanitarian response for Syrian refugee children and families in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.
UNICEF and its partners, including the governments and authorities in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, and non-governmental organizations on the ground, are responding to a situation that is quickly evolving. An estimated 30,000 vulnerable Syrian children in four countries have been reached with vital assistance to-date.
In education, UNICEF has helped children integrate into public schools where feasible, as in Jordan, where they are granted free access. UNICEF is also assisting with remedial classes where needed, providing all vulnerable children with school bags, uniforms and other supplies. In Jordan alone, with support of the government, UNICEF has provided 16,500 children and other family members with education opportunities.
UNICEF has responded to the urgent protection needs of women and children by expanding the range of child-friendly spaces offering safe recreation, remedial education and life-skills training. Counseling and psychosocial support is provided through training health professionals and social workers. A broad network of social welfare centers in Lebanon and Jordan is strengthening referral and support mechanisms, and raising awareness of violence prevention and self-defense.
In transit areas and host communities where refugees are concentrated, UNICEF has assisted more than 7,000 vulnerable Syrians through water, sanitation, and hygiene services, including hygiene promotion and solid waste management. As the cost of providing, transporting and storing safe water is high, and demand rises along with the summer temperatures, this is an area that urgently needs to be expanded.
UNICEF is extremely grateful for contributions received from donors to-date. However, UNICEF has only received $5.6 million out of the $20 million dollars urgently needed to assist children caught in the Syrian refugee crisis.
Having set the groundwork for delivering assistance in four countries, UNICEF is ready to scale up to support the most vulnerable Syrian refugees, particularly children.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, 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.
UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from more than 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. But still, 21,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.