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Press Centre (1/2015)

UNICEF steps up assistance for children affected by the bitter winter sweeping through the Middle East


With the harsh conditions of winter the needs of Children of Syria are growing.@UNICEF/Turkey-2015/Yurtsever
GENEVA/AMMAN, 13 January 2015 – Amidst the harshest conditions of the winter so far, UNICEF has delivered warm clothing, blankets, heating supplies, cash and vouchers to more than 900,000 children in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. 

As the Syria conflict nears the four-year mark, UNICEF estimates that at least 7 million internally displaced and refugee children are in desperate need of assistance. Many continue to live in unfinished buildings and inadequate shelters that expose them to sub-zero temperatures, heavy snow and strong winds.
 
“Given the access constraints and extreme weather conditions, we’ve managed to accelerate our winter response in order to reach as many children as possible,” said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “The contribution of our various partners – local as well as governmental – has been critical in making this happen even in such difficult conditions.”
 
· In Syria, UNICEF winter supplies have reached 350,000 children and the distribution continues nationwide.
 
· UNICEF Lebanon’s winter items and vouchers have been provided to 200,000 children in the most exposed areas of the country, including in elevated areas such as Aarsal. UNICEF teams are working to reach a total of 478,000 children in the coming weeks.
 
· In Jordan UNICEF winter kits and cash assistance have benefited 100,000 vulnerable Syrian refugee children and their families in camps and communities.
 
· In Turkey, the winter response has reached 62,000 children, including 22,000 children from Kobane aged 3-11 years in Suruc.  
 
· In Iraq, winter clothing kits have been distributed to over 200,000 children in over 100 hard-to-reach and high altitude areas.

“While important, these achievements pale in comparison to the numbers of children and families whose lives are being devastated with every day this terrible conflict drags on,” Ms. Calivis added. “We appeal to our donors and supporters around the world to give generously to ensure that this work can continue.”
 
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For more information on the UNICEF Syria Response, visit
http://childrenofsyria.info/winter/
http://childrenofsyria.info/2014/11/13/over-seven-million-syrian-and-iraqi-children-caught-up-in-conflict-face-a-harsh-winter/

About UNICEF

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.org

For more information please contact:
 
Simon Ingram, UNICEF Middle East and North Africa, +962 79 590 4740, singram@unicef.org,
Roshan Khadivi, UNICEF Middle East and North Africa, +962 79 565 1574, rkhadivi@unicef.org
Christophe Boulierac, UNICEF Geneva, +41 799 639 244,cboulierac@unicef.org
Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, +1917 209 1804, nmekki@unicef.org
UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org