Syria Water Crisis

Today more than 6.5 million children are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. This is the highest number recorded in Syria since 2011 when the war began.

The recent earthquakes which hit Syria have destroyed vast swathes of the country’s sanitation infrastructure, leaving millions of children without access to safe drinking water. 

Children, left homeless, injured and traumatised from the recent earthquakes are struggling to survive. Without access to clean drinking water they’re at risk of death from water-borne diseases like cholera or dysentery. Even a treatable illness like diarrhoea can prove fatal if a child can’t re-hydrate with safe drinking water.

Right now, tens of thousands of people are crowded into temporary shelters and displacement camps with no running water or power. The germs which cause cholera, dysentery, typhoid and diarrhoea thrive in these conditions and with every passing day, more and more children are at risk.

Syria has long been one of the most dangerous places for children to live but without safe water, it could very soon be the deadliest.


Sham, 2 and a half years, drinks a glass of water given to her by her aunt in Za’atari Refugee Camp.
Rima has been suffering from diarrhoea for three days. The oral rehydration salts given to her mother by a UNICEF volunteer will help save her life.

Dirty Water Costs Lives

Rima* is sick with life-threatening watery diarrhoea. She is getting weaker by the hour.

Her mother Ferial has managed to get her to a UNICEF-supported health centre, but she is frightened it might be too late. Ferial and her four children lost their home and now live at a crowded displacement camp in Raqqa city.

“Most of the time when there is no water in this settlement, we fetch it from the river,” she tells, Aisha*, the UNICEF volunteer who comes to her aid. “It is not clean, but this is the only source we have.”

Rima is treated with oral rehydration salts to help restore the vital minerals she lost. In time she should recover.

*names changed to protect identity 


Cholera is knocking on the door. We are not sure if the water we buy is clean. But what can we do? We have no option but to drink the water that is available to us.

- Nada Alhasan, mother of three


Your Donation Saves Children’s Lives

For over 50 years, UNICEF has kept the water flowing in Syria. We have delivered billions of litres of water to millions of people. But now with water reservoirs, water towers, water stations and sanitation facilities in a state of collapse, the needs are immense.

The futures of millions of children hang by a thread. A donation to UNICEF today can make a life-saving difference to children:

  • With €50 you could buy enough water purification tablets to ensure 10 families have safe, clean water to last them for two months
  • With €75 you could supply oral rehydration salts to 15 children suffering from dehydration caused by severe diarrhoea for one month
  • With €150 you could give 6 children a hygiene kit to protect them against disease in overcrowded refugee camps
Children sit together in a school-turned-shelter in Aleppo city, northern Syria, on 13 February 2023.

UNICEF Ireland Ambassador: Cathy Kelly

"Children in Syria are drinking water containing faeces... They've survived war and earthquakes. They can’t die from drinking dirty water"

Other Ways to Donate

You can make a donation by phone, you can reach us on 01 878 3000

Our office hours are Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 17:30.

You can send your donation by post to


UNICEF Ireland,
33 Lower Ormond Quay,
Dublin D01 R283.

You can help reach more children affected by disaster. Please donate today and help protect children. 

In the unlikely event that the funds raised exceed UNICEF’s funding requirements for this appeal, your donation will be directed to where the need is greatest.

Help protect children
UNICEF | for every child

Stay informed

Add value to your inbox!
Sign up to keep up to date on what's going on around the world.