TORONTO, 4 August 2012 – As violence engulfs many parts of Syria, UNICEF is alarmed that children continue to bear the greatest brunt of the tragedy.
UNICEF is working with its partners to deliver urgently needed assistance to hundreds of thousands of children and families who fled their homes to escape the fighting and are bearing the brunt of the conflict. Families sheltering in schools, mosques and other public buildings in Damascus and beyond are receiving hygiene kits, mattresses, blankets, as well as food and other items for their children. During the month of July, despite deteriorating security conditions and limited access in many areas, UNICEF and its partners were able to expand these and similar activities to reach around 94,000 people, the vast majority of them (around 90 per cent) children and adolescents.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake says the most urgent priority is to protect children and their families.
“As the eyes of the world focus on the mounting violence in Syria, we must not overlook the fact that while children are not responsible for this tragedy, they’re paying a terrible price,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Children are losing their lives, losing their homes, losing their parents and losing their schooling. UNICEF supports people of conscience everywhere calling on all parties to do everything in their power to protect the innocents.”
The deteriorating situation is driving civilians to flee Syria to neighbouring countries in ever increasing numbers. To date, more than 130,000 Syrian refugees – around half of them children and adolescents – have been registered in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. UNICEF is joining with other humanitarian agencies to provide them with a range of essential services, including water, sanitation, education and psychosocial support.
UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries – more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.