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Critical supplies for Syrian refugee children airlifted to Erbil, Iraq

2013-09-01

100 MT of supplies will support vital services for over 20,000 new Syrian children and their families in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

ERBIL, Iraq, 1 September 2013 – A plane carrying 100 tonnes of UNICEF emergency supplies to assist Syrian refugee children and families arrived this evening in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. 

The supplies were urgently airlifted from UNICEF’s global supply warehouse in Copenhagen, Denmark, to respond to the growing needs of Syrian refugees in Iraq, who now number more than 200,000. Some 50,000 refugees arrived in the last two and a half weeks, half of whom were children.

“These supplies come just in time to meet the pressing needs of the over 20,000 Syrian children who have recently arrived in northern Iraq,” said Dr. Marzio Babille, UNICEF’s Representative to Iraq. “This airlift underlines UNICEF’s unwavering support for the vital services these children need in the face of terrible suffering, trauma and stress.”

The supplies include: water tanks, tap stands, latrine equipment, water purification tablets and testing kits; oral rehydration solution; emergency health and hygiene, early childhood development and recreation kits; school materials; and temporary schools and safe spaces, among other items. 

These items come in addition to 12 trucks of supplies, carrying primarily hygiene kits for over 50,000 people, that arrived earlier this week from UNICEF’s warehouse hub in Mersin, Turkey, as well as an additional four trucks of emergency materials that arrived from Baghdad, Iraq. 

“All of these items are part of a first wave of supplies that will massively scale-up UNICEF’s emergency response to the growing number of Syrian refugee children and families in Iraq,” stated Dr. Babille.

The majority of supplies were made possible by a $5.8 million contribution from the Government of Kuwait as well as an in-kind contribution from UPS, a long-standing partner of UNICEF, which provided support toward the airlift cost from Copenhagen.

UNICEF is working closely with the Kurdistan Regional Government, UNHCR, other UN agencies, and international and national NGOs to deliver vital essential services – particularly in the water and sanitation, education, health and nutrition, and child protection sectors - to Syrian refugee children and their families in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Canadians can support life-saving efforts by making a donation at unicef.ca/syriaappeal

For more information on this crisis, visit www.childrenofsyria.info.  

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About UNICEF

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.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.