Total number of children in need in Syria – 6 Million
Number of children living in hard to reach areas – Nearly 1.5 million
Number of people under siege in East Ghouta – 393,00 (Half of them are children)
UNICEF’s response in East Ghouta
The provision of humanitarian assistance to children and families in hard to reach or besieged areas in Syria is very challenging. Through humanitarian convoys, UNICEF provides therapeutic nutrition supplies, medicine, hygiene kits, education supplies, seasonal clothes’ kits, and water disinfectant tablets. In 2017, UNICEF was part of 11 inter-agency convoys to deliver emergency supplies to children and their families in East Ghouta.
For the first time in 2018, on February 14th, UNICEF was able to gain access to East Ghouta as part of the last UN inter-agency convoy to deliver medical and therapeutic supplies there. While we welcome this window of access, more humanitarian convoys should be allowed to reach children in need across Syria.
On 30 October 2017 a child receives nutritional screening during an inter-agency visit in East Ghouta. Photo: Al-Asadi, Syria, 2017.
Malnutrition in East Ghouta
- Violence, lack of humanitarian access and sky-rocketing food prices have worsened malnutrition among young children in besieged East Ghouta.
- A survey of 27 locations in East Ghouta conducted in November 2017 found that 11.9 per cent of children under five years old are acutely malnourished– the highest rate recorded in Syria since the beginning of the nearly seven-year conflict.
- More than one third of children covered in the study are stunted, elevating their risk of delayed development, illness and death.
- Acute malnutrition rates are highest among very young children.
- Mothers of children under two years old have reportedly reduced or stopped breastfeeding altogether because of their own poor nutrition and the constant violence.
- The rapidly rising costs of basic foods and cooking supplies have made preparing a meal out of reach for most. The price of a basic portion of bread costs 85 times more in East Ghouta than in Damascus, located just 15 kilometres away.
UNICEF calls for unconditional, safe and sustained access to all children in need, irrelevant of their location in the country.
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