On February 6, 2018, a humanitarian convoy traveling from Damascus neared Rukban makeshift settlement in Syria.

Inside the Largest Ever Humanitarian Convoy to Reach Syrian Refugees

The United Nations and Syrian Arab Red Crescent teamed up to deliver lifesaving supplies to displaced Syrians in Rukban makeshift camp near the Jordanian border. 

For over 70 years, UNICEF has been putting children first, working to protect their rights and provide the assistance and services they need to survive and thrive all over the world.

This month, the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) carried out their largest and most complex joint humanitarian aid convoy, providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance to 40,000 displaced people at the Rukban makeshift settlement in southeastern Syria near the borders with Jordan and Iraq.


Some 118 trucks filled with health and nutrition supplies, medical equipment, winter gear, sanitation and hygiene materials, educational supplies and children's recreational kits reached the outskirts of the remote desert camp on February 6.

The UN/SARC trucks also carried vaccines for approximately 10,000 children under the age of 5, as part of an emergency vaccination campaign against measles, polio and other diseases. The vast majority of the people stranded at Rukban are vulnerable women and children. 

Rukban is a no man's land. There are practically no services, no basic health care. Access to safe, clean water is very limited. Food prices have soared. 

"This large-scale delivery of essential humanitarian supplies to the extremely vulnerable in Rukban could not have happened a moment too soon," said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Sajjad Malik. "The humanitarian situation there has been deteriorating due to harsh winter conditions and the lack of access to basic assistance and services. There have been reports of at least eight young children's deaths in recent weeks." 

Fleeing air strikes, Syrian families began arriving at the camp in late 2015, hoping to cross to safety in Jordan. Since Jordan closed its border in 2016, they have been trapped in the harsh desert in Rukban.

Conditions in the settlement are desperate. "Children are walking around barefoot through puddles and mud, in cold and continuous rain," said Andrej Mahecic, a spokesperson for UNHCR, the Refugee Agency. Early marriage for girls is commonplace. Many women and girls are terrified to leave their mud homes or tents as there are serious risks of sexual abuse and harassment.

Children didn't start the conflict in Syria, but they are paying the highest price. UNICEF is working to provide urgent assistance to children affected by violence in Syria, including the millions who have been forced from their homes. 

Learn more about how you can help the children of Syria now.

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UNICEF and partners are working tirelessly in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Bangladesh and around the world to save and protect children. With a presence in 190 countries and territories, UNICEF has helped save more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. 

Top photo: A humanitarian aid convoy organized by the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent reached the Rukban makeshift settlement in the Syrian desert near the border with Jordan in February 2018. © UNICEF/UN0279377

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