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UNICEF reaches some of the heaviest conflict areas in Syria

2013-05-17

DAMASCUS/AMMAN/GENEVA, 17 May 2013 – Despite heavy fighting, UNICEF and partners have provided life-saving supplies over the last week to some of the hardest to reach areas in Syria, including Aleppo and Al Houla, as well as children and women who fled recent violence in Al Bayda and Baniyas. 

UNICEF and partners reached Zamarin and surrounding areas, on the outskirts of Tartous, which is hosting some 6,000 women and children who fled the nearby villages of Al Bayda and Baniyas, where mass killings have reportedly taken place this month. 

Supplies including clothes and hygiene items were distributed to families dispersed throughout the village or living in construction sites or schools. 

Meanwhile, UNICEF and partners brought six trucks to Aleppo carrying hygiene kits, high energy biscuits, oral rehydration salts, two infant incubators, water purification tablets and clothing.

Heavy fighting in and around Aleppo has displaced or otherwise affected four million people, about half of them children.  Much of the ancient city has been reduced to rubble.   

In another mission, UNICEF and other UN agencies reached Al Houla, near Homs.  It was in Al Houla in May 2012 that some 100 people, including dozens of children, were massacred in a single day.

Supplies brought into the city, which had been largely cut off for months because of continued fighting, included hundreds of hygiene kits and nutrition supplies.

In addition, several generators are being installed throughout the country, including one in Homs, which will provide access to safe water for some 300,000 people.

Despite the deteriorating security situation UNICEF and partners have managed to scale up the humanitarian response.  This year alone, close to a million children in Syria have been vaccinated, some 7.4 million people have been provided with access to safe water, and close to 100,000 children have been enrolled in school clubs. 

But the needs are growing faster than funding.  Just over two years into the crisis, around 80,000 people have been killed, some 4.25 million have been internally displaced and over 1.5 million have fled Syria into neighbouring countries.

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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.