UNICEF Canada launches 48 hour emergency appeal to support Syrian children in crisis

TORONTO, Ontario and DOMIZ, Iraq, June 20, 2013 /CNW/ - Today on World Refugee Day UNICEF Canada is launching a 48 hour emergency appeal to reach the nearly 4 million children living in crisis across the Middle East because of the on-going conflict in Syria.

"I have met parents that have risked their lives, fleeing their homes with young children. They often leave at night with nothing and travel on foot to reach overcrowded desert camps where temperatures are extreme, resources are scarce and life is unimaginably difficult," says UNICEF Canada's President and CEO David Morley who is currently in the northern Iraq Domiz refugee camp. "These families here need support but our resources are running out."

Approximately 45,000 Syrians are now sheltering in Iraq's Domiz refugee camp greatly exceeding the camp's capacity of 25,000 people.

In the last six months the number of Syrian refugees in Iraq has tripled. There are now more than 150,000 Syrians in the country including 60,000 children who are in need of urgent assistance.

To mark the United Nations World Refugee Day UNICEF Canada is urging Canadians to make a donation at unicef.ca over the next 48 hours to support urgent emergency efforts for Syrian refugees.

Money raised will help UNICEF provide Syrian children with life-saving immunizations, clean drinking water, access to education, and psycho social support to address the emotional trauma of living through years of deadly conflict.

The situation in Syria grows worse every day. For more than two years children have been killed, detained, tortured, maimed, sexually abused, and used as fighters.

In the past few months humanitarian needs have doubled. There are now more than three million children needing urgent assistance inside Syria and the violence has driven 1.6 million Syrians, including more than 800,000 children, across borders into neighbouring countries.

"It is children who suffer most severely in emergencies, whether a conflict or a natural disaster," says Morley. "We must remember there is no enemy child. Children are always innocent and equally deserving of life-saving support."

Earlier this month UNICEF and other UN agencies appealed for more than $4 billion to support the regional humanitarian response, the largest humanitarian appeal in history.

To learn more about UNICEF's work and to support the urgent 48 hour emergency appeal for Syrian children visit unicef.ca.

Today David Morley will participate in a Twitter chat, co-hosted by UNICEF Canada and UNICEF Iraq, from 10-11 am EDT.  Tweet questions about the Syrian refugee crisis in Iraq and UNICEF's life-saving emergency efforts to @DMorleyUNICEF using the hashtag #childrenofsyria.


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: 416-871-7345


Andrea Ramhit
UNICEF Canada,
Office 416-482-6552 ext. 8890 cell: 416-434-2877

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