UNICEF launches emergency appeal urging Canadians to support Syrian children in crisis

TORONTO, July 26, 2012 /CNW/ -UNICEF has launched an urgent appeal for Canadians to support its emergency efforts reaching Syrian children and their families living in crisis.

UNICEF has appealed for $39 million to support its humanitarian efforts in the region. So far it has received less than half and still needs $23 million.

"The needs among children and families displaced by the violence of recent days are enormous, whether in food, water and sanitation or other basic supplies. We are doing our utmost to respond, using whatever means we have at our disposal," says UNICEF Syria Representative, Youssouf Abdel-Jelil.

Despite the upsurge in fighting in Damascus and elsewhere, UNICEF and its partners continue to deliver essential aid. Since January UNICEF has reached 190,000 people in Syria including more than 145,000 children. It's estimated more than 1.5 million people in Syria are still in need.

The deteriorating security situation and unreliable access to fuel are creating major challenges for UNICEF and partners to reach these families in Syria. Despite this UNICEF recently delivered life saving essentials to thousands of families sheltering in schools across Damascus. Last week UNICEF also delivered a truckload of essentials supplies and medical items to an area that has seen particularly heavy fighting in the capital city.

So far nearly 115,000 people who have fled Syria are now registered as refugees. UNICEF and partners are providing assistance to these families who are now in neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

It is estimated half of all displaced Syrians are children and youth whose schooling has been halted and who now have limited access to basic services. Many of these children are also suffering from severe mental distress after witnessing violence and displacement.

In Lebanon UNICEF is creating child friendly spaces and scaling up psycho-social support services to reach these children who have been traumatized by war.

UNICEF is also working closely with the Jordanian government and partner organizations to accelerate work on the newly established Za'atari refugee camp in the north. With funds currently available UNICEF will provide water and sanitation facilities, education supplies and child protection services.

"We are optimistic Canadians will once again show their generosity during this crisis and support the ongoing emergency relief efforts UNICEF is scaling up across the region to help the most vulnerable children," says UNICEF Canada's Director of International Programs Meg French.

To make a donation or learn more please visit www.unicef.ca


UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.


For further information:


Melanie Sharpe
UNICEF Canada,
Office 416-482-6552 ext. 8892 cell: 416-806-2764


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