NEW YORK (November 26, 2012) — UNICEF is urgently mobilizing more than 100,000 children’s clothing kits, 160,000 blankets and other winter supplies for displaced children in Syria and surrounding countries. The organization is appealing urgently for $79.3 million to support its emergency response in Syria and the four surrounding countries hosting refugees.
Drawing on its global supply networks, UNICEF is sourcing winter supplies where they are available and can be provided quickly.
“Temperatures are falling fast, down to five degrees Celsius this week, with expected lows around the freezing point. We urgently need to get clothing and other essential items to the most vulnerable children, no matter where they are,” said Ettie Higgins, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Syria.
Many Syrian children fled their homes with only summer clothing. Now they are in temporary shelters and in desperate need of warm clothes. UNICEF is worried about the impact winter will have on children’s health, including the increased risk of respiratory conditions. Children are in a fragile state already from the ongoing stress associated with displacement and conflict.
UNICEF is procuring clothing kits for some 75,000 vulnerable children under the age of 15 inside Syria. Each kit includes thermal underwear, long pants, a wool sweater, socks, wool gloves and hat, shoes and a winter coat.
Blankets will be distributed to children and families displaced by the ongoing conflict, the vast majority of whom are inside Syria. They include 11,000 baby blankets for infants in Syria. More than 26,000 pre-positioned blankets will be leaving UNICEF’s humanitarian hub in Dubai in the next week bound for Syria, while another 41,000 blankets are being sourced in Pakistan.
Health supplies that can meet the needs of more than 225,000 people for three months are also on their way to Syria from UNICEF’s supply warehouse in Copenhagen, Denmark. UNICEF has readied half a million school bags containing stationery supplies in addition to those already distributed. Other supplies are being sourced within Syria where possible.
“Sourcing supplies from around the world and getting them into Syria is only half the solution,” said Higgins. “We face enormous challenges on the ground because of the security situation, but with our network of dedicated partners we will do everything we can to ensure that children get the warm clothes and blankets that they urgently need.”
The situation for the estimated 400,000 Syrian refugees in surrounding countries, half of whom are children, is also grim.
In Lebanon, UNICEF plans to reach more than 24,000 children with clothing kits and clothing vouchers, along with an initial 10,000 blankets. In Jordan, 78 heated winter tents for use as child-friendly spaces and classrooms will be set up over the next month. Solar panels are being installed in washing areas to provide hot water for refugees in both Jordan and Iraq.
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:
Toll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDS
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.
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.