Actor & UNICEF Ireland Ambassador Stephen Rea joined with UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power to launch the children’s organisation’s Emergency Appeal for the children of Syria today, as the violence continues to impact on the lives of over one million Syrian children.
Latest UN estimates are that within Syria 2.5 million are affected by the conflict, 1.2 million are displaced and that over 17,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the beginning of the crisis.
Speaking at the launch, Peter Power, Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland stressed how the combination of escalating levels of violence and the disruption of services and livelihoods threatens to put more children’s lives at risk; “Within Syria, 2.5 million people are affected by the conflict and 1.2million are displaced, half of them children. Syrian children have limited access to basic services; face disruption to their schooling and are suffering psychosocial distress caused by witnessing terrible acts of violence.”
80,000 children are registered as refugees to date – some 30,000 of them are under the age of five
“More than 80,000 children are now registered as refugees, & some 30,000 of these are below the age of five” continued Mr. Power. “However, this figure does not include the many tens of thousands of children who are not registered as refugees but have been displaced by the violence. In response, UNICEF is scaling up its child protection services in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.”
“I’m very concerned about the growing humanitarian consequences for children due to the violence in Syria” said UNICEF Ireland Ambassador, Stephen Rea. “I just think about the fear and terror that they are suffering daily because of this crisis and how desperate the situation currently is for families with young children. I’m here with UNICEF Ireland today to help them highlight the plight of the children in Syria, who are bearing the brunt of this emergency. UNICEF Ireland urgently needs the help of our supporters across the country to prevent an even greater crisis, as the situation continues to worsen.”
Significant increase in the number of refugees arriving at the Za’atari Camp with more than 2,000 people crossing the border in a night
UNICEF is urgently appealing for additional funds to meet the emergency health, protection, and water and sanitation needs of the growing numbers of Syrian refugee children and their families arriving in Jordan.
Some 17,000 people – half of them children – are sheltered at Za’atari refugee camp in the north of Jordan, but numbers are increasing daily with hundreds of new arrivals from Syria. There was a significant increase in the number of arrivals at the camp this last weekend with more than 2,000 people crossing the border in a single night. This number is nearly 80 per cent higher than the previous largest number of Syrians crossing into Jordan within a 24-hour period.
“We expect to have 70,000 people at Za’atari camp by the end of this year,” said UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power. “We must act now because it is children who continue to suffer most. So more funding is urgently required to scale-up our emergency response activities.”
Conditions at Za’atari camp are harsh, with scorching temperatures, no natural shade, and frequent sandstorms that rip through the camp. UNICEF is leading the emergency water and sanitation response, trucking in enough water to provide 50 litres per person a day. With new families continuing to swell the camp population, UNICEF is constructing a well as a more sustainable water source. The installation of new toilets, showers and taps in the camp is also underway.
Despite the dangerous and complex operating environment, humanitarian agencies operating within Syria like UNICEF have managed to significantly scale up assistance in the last month as well as providing urgent humanitarian assistance to Syrian families displaced by the conflict. In Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon every day, UNICEF is providing 10,000 families with safe water and sanitation services. 11,000 children are benefiting from psychosocial support and 10,000 students are in remedial education programmes. In the coming weeks 228,000 refugee and host family children under the age of five will be vaccinated against measles and will receive vitamin A.
“As the crisis is prolonged, one of the main challenges will be to ensure that all children of school age have access to quality education; such that the problems of today do not leave a lasting mark on their future” added Mr. Power.
How Irish people can help:
To make a donation to UNICEF Ireland’s Emergency Appeal for the Children of Syria, please visit www.unicef.ie or call 1850 767 999. Postal donations can be sent to UNICEF Ireland, 33 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1.
Julianne Savage, UNICEF Ireland. firstname.lastname@example.org Tel.01-878 3000
About UNICEF Ireland:
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.ie