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UNICEF scales up emergency response in Jordan to assist Syrian refugee children and families

NEW YORK (July 30, 2012) — With the conflict in Syria causing a dramatic increase in the number of Syrian children and families fleeing to Jordan, UNICEF is rapidly scaling up its emergency assistance. UNICEF is providing essential support to the new Za’atari tented site near Mafraq in northern Jordan, which is expected to receive 5,000 Syrian refugees within days. It will have a capacity of up to 150,000 people.

UNICEF is appealing for $17.8 million to support its emergency response in Jordan, of which some $10.76 million is still needed. This includes $3 million now urgently required to accommodate the growing influx of displaced Syrians in Za’atari.

“We are witnessing a large-scale movement of children and families across Syria’s southern borders into Jordan, which is creating a developing humanitarian crisis,” said Dominique Hyde, UNICEF Jordan Representative.

“UNICEF and partners are in a race against time to get clean water, toilets and showers ready at Za’atari before the first displaced Syrian families arrive here within days.”

Along with partner the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), UNICEF is supporting the site’s water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the arriving population. Already installed are water bladders, 80 mobile toilets, and 80 showers that will reach up to 5,000 people. Water tankers will be deployed as soon as refugees join the camp.

UNICEF has also provided additional emergency supplies to meet the initial needs of up to 25,000 people, including basic family water kits, tents for Child Friendly Spaces, school-in-a-box sets, early childhood development kits, tarpaulins, plastic mats, and other emergency items. The first Child Friendly Space has already been erected.

More than 13,000 Syrians have arrived at refugee transit sites in Jordan since the beginning of July—nearly half of them in the past week alone—placing increasing strain on facilities. UNICEF provides essential water, sanitation and hygiene services—including distributing some 9,000 baby hygiene kits—at the four transit sites, along with child protection and education services.

“More than half of all displaced Syrians are children and adolescents, who continue to face psychosocial distress from experiencing violence and displacement. We are seeing an upsurge in the number of women accompanied by their children.”

The sites were intended to hold 2,160 new arrivals but have now reached a record high with more than 10,000 refugees—more than four times their capacity. More than 38,800 Syrians in Jordan are registered as refugees or awaiting registration.

UNICEF is also providing assistance to tens of thousands of displaced Syrians in Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, as well as to affected families who remain in Syria. 

About UNICEF

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 make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org
Kiní Schoop, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2634, kschoop@unicefusa.org

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