Field Diary: A report from the Syrian refuggee camp on the Jordanian border.

Currently in Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, Peter Power, UNICEF Ireland Executive Director reports on the deteriorating situation since his last visit on October.

“Having spent three days on the ground I regret to stay that the situation is actually deteriorating each and every day. Literally thousands of families (the majority of whom are children) are crossing the border from Syria every day to escape the increasing violence in that country. Most of them end up in the Za’atari Refugee Camp where UNICEF is the lead agency trying to deal with the emergency.

The sheer scale of the operation in the Za’atari Refugee Camp, and the amount of money required each day to finance it, is breath-taking. As each day passes, the camp has to accommodate an influx of people which it was simply not designed to take. While every effort is being made to alleviate the suffering of children, the camp simply cannot cope. The worst affected, of course, are the children. I met some of the children who have been here since last October and you can see that the harshest winter for ten years has taken its toll on them. They are sleeping in tents with no insulation and the temperature drops well below zero each night. Many of them have nothing to wear on their feet except sandals.

Such is the nature of the crisis that a school, which has been part-funded by the money which we raised here in Ireland, has had to be converted into makeshift accommodation to deal with the influx.”

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UNICEF is undertaking a winterisation strategy and plans to reach 647,300 women and children in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey with a package of emergency supplies for winter. This package aims to meet the urgent needs of children through the provision of warm clothes, blankets, adequate shelter and health care.

UNICEF urgently requires additional funds to provide vital winter-related emergency supplies to children and families, donate here.

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