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Statement by UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programs Ted Chaiban at the Launch of the UN Syrian Humanitarian Appeal and Regional Response Plan

2013-06-07

GENEVA, June 7, 2013 - The Syria conflict is one of the gravest crises facing children anywhere in the world today. Four million children’s lives have been devastated and an entire generation is at risk.

Despite challenges encountered, UNICEF and partners have significantly scaled up the response inside Syria. Since the start of 2013, More than 10 million people inside Syria have access to drinking and domestic water. 1 million children have been immunized against measles inside Syria and 600,000 in neighboring countries. In this context, it is important to pay tribute to the incredible resilience of the Syrian people and organisations without which our collective humanitarian efforts would not have succeeded.

UNICEF is also giving Syrian children in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq access to clean water, vaccinations against lethal diseases, the opportunities to catch up on learning, and to recover from the horrors they have witnessed. Host communities who are also struggling will equally be able to access these services.

There is still much more to be done. The crisis in Syria is escalating day by day, and the arrival of summer heat is bringing fresh dangers.  Temperatures are rising at a time when safe water is increasingly scarce, and sanitation conditions are worsening.  Children would be especially vulnerable in a public health crisis.  

This appeal is about saving children’s lives. This is why UNICEF is requesting additional resources. Our current funding gap is about US$ 300 million in order to maintain the current level of assistance and scale up to meet the ever growing humanitarian needs of children and their families in Syria and around the region.

Within the overall appeal, our first priority is to provide clean water, adequate sanitation, and vaccinations to protect children against disease. Our other priorities are to help children catch up on schooling they have lost and to protect children against different forms of violence and abuse.

UNICEF is very grateful to donors who have been so generous in funding our response since the beginning of the crisis. In light of this unprecedented appeal and in the current resource constrained environment, it is important to broaden the donor base including the engagement of the private sector.

The longer the conflict continues, the more difficult it will be to heal the deep wounds left behind. UNICEF calls on all parties to the conflict, and those who have influence on them, to reaffirm the principle that children have no place in war and should be protected from violence at all times.

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Download the Needs and Response FACT SHEET and Key Response Activities MAP.

On Twitter, follow the hashtag #Aid4Syria for updates.

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.