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UNICEF scales up emergency response in Jordan to assist Syrian refugee children and families

2012-07-30

Additional support needed for essentials in new Za’atari refugee camp

TORONTO - July 30, 2012 - With the conflict in Syria causing a dramatic increase in the number of Syrian children and families fleeing to Jordan, UNICEF is rapidly scaling up its emergency assistance.

UNICEF is providing essential support to the new Za’atari tented site near Mafraq in northern Jordan, which is expected to receive 5,000 Syrian refugees within days. It will have a capacity of up to 150,000 people.

Last week UNICEF launched an emergency appeal in Canada, asking for $39 million to support its humanitarian efforts in the region. So far it has received less than half and still needs $23 million.

An additional $3 million is now urgently required to accommodate the growing influx of displaced Syrians in Za’atari.

“We are witnessing a large-scale movement of children and families across Syria’s southern borders into Jordan, which is creating a developing humanitarian crisis,” says Dominique Hyde, UNICEF Jordan Representative.

Along with partner the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), UNICEF is supporting the site’s water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the arriving population. Already installed are water bladders, 80 mobile toilets, and 80 showers that will reach up to 5,000 people. Water tankers will be deployed as soon as refugees join the camp.

UNICEF has also provided additional emergency supplies to meet the initial needs of up to 25,000 people, including basic family water kits, tents for Child Friendly Spaces, school-in-a-box sets, early childhood development kits, tarps, plastic mats, and other emergency items. The first Child Friendly Space has already been built.

More than 13,000 Syrians have arrived at refugee transit sites in Jordan since the beginning of July—nearly half of them in the past week alone—placing increasing strain on facilities.
“More than half of all displaced Syrians are children and adolescents, who continue to face psychosocial distress from experiencing violence and displacement. We are seeing an upsurge in the number of women accompanied by their children,” says Hyde.

The sites were intended to hold 2,160 new arrivals but have now reached a record high with more than 10,000 refugees—more than four times their capacity. More than 38,800 Syrians in Jordan are registered as refugees or awaiting registration.

UNICEF is also providing assistance to tens of thousands of displaced Syrians in Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, as well as to affected families who remain in Syria.

Visit www.unicef.ca/syria for more information or to support the campaign.

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.