Syria: Some 210,000 children in Homs need urgent humanitarian assistance, UNICEF says following UN mission
GENEVA/AMMAN, 1 February 2013 – A United Nations joint mission to the western Syrian governorate of Homs, in which UNICEF took part, found that 420,000 people, half of them are children, need immediate humanitarian assistance.
“Children are the worst affected,” says UNICEF Emergency Specialist Mark Choonoo who was on the mission. “Most children I saw were showing signs of distress. It is extremely important that we reach as many of these children as possible with the support they need to cope with their traumatic experiences.”
Out of 1,500 schools in Homs an estimated 200 have been damaged as a result of the fighting – and another 65 are sheltering children and families. This has direct implications on students’ attendance and on the quality of education.
UNICEF assistance in the governorate of Homs has included the distribution of blankets, quilts, family hygiene kits and children’s clothes and the provision of remedial education.In Talbiseh alone, UNICEF provided 1,000 quilts, 1,000 hygiene kits and 2,000 clothing kits for children. Key additional priorities include providing children with psychological support programmes, increasing learning opportunities and rehabilitating the water network.
UNICEF recently appealed for $68.5 million to carry out life-saving programmes inside Syria during the first six months of 2013. Only a fraction of the funds - a little over $8 million – has been received so far.
Canadians can support Syrian children by making a donation at www.unicef.ca/syria.