NEW YORK (October 24, 2013) – A UNICEF charter plane carrying urgently-needed vaccines and food for children in Syria has arrived in Beirut, Lebanon. Supplies will be moved by truck into Syria.
The cargo plane contained around 28.6 metric tons of supplies, including 265,000 doses of Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccines, and super-cereal, a complementary fortified food for children ages six to 23 months.
The vaccines are needed to replenish supplies being used in the Ministry of Health-led vaccination campaign currently underway in Syria.
“The campaign is especially important because it is reaching children who have already missed out on their routine vaccinations,” said Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Syria Representative.
“Delivery of the vaccines by air was the fastest option in this case. In turn, the super-cereal will help to meet urgent nutritional needs among some of Syria’s most vulnerable young infants.”
As the conflict continues in Syria, the nutritional status of some children is becoming increasingly precarious. Hospitals visited by UNICEF staff are reporting an upward trend in the number of children being admitted with moderate and severe acute malnutrition compared to two years ago. Reports from partners in areas including Rural Damascus, Aleppo, and Homs confirm this trend.
“The stresses associated with displacement and the impact of rising food prices, along with lack of access to food in some areas, has already compromised children’s nutritional status. The approaching winter is expected to worsen the situation further,” said Abdel-Jelil.
Super-cereal contains wheat and soy, fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, mixed into a nutritious porridge to support the growth and development of children. UNICEF Syria, together with partners, is aiming to reach 50,000 children over the next three months in some of the worst-affected areas in Syria.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 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 additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, [email protected]