UNICEF Canada responds to Government of Canada's announcement of $1.11 billion for humanitarian and development assistance in response to the crises in Syria and Iraq

TORONTO, Feb. 8, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, UNICEF Canada welcomed the Canadian government's commitment of $1.11 billion over three years to address the increasing humanitarian needs of those affected by the ongoing crises and conflict in Syria and Iraq, as well as support longer-term development programming.

The $1.11 billion was announced today by The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, alongside The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, at a press conference in Ottawa.

David Morley, UNICEF Canada's President and CEO, had the following response:

"We're pleased Canada is continuing to invest and play a leadership role in educating and protecting children affected by crises in Syria and Iraq. This $1.11 billion will go a long way to protecting the futures of children affected by these crises—children caught in the crosshairs of a conflict beyond their control.

With no end in sight, the Syrian crisis has forced millions of children to flee their homes, their schools have been destroyed and they have witnessed unimaginable horrors. The international community has a responsibility to better protect and provide for the more than 13 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, including over 6 million children, and over four million refugees in neighbouring countries. Canadian assistance should continue to prioritise those most vulnerable, including children.

The future of Syria, the region and beyond is at stake. A whole generation of Syrian children and youth risk losing hope. A whole generation of Syrian children and youth risk losing their right to education.

Iraq is also facing a significant displacement crisis. In addition to the more than 244,000 Syrian refugees inside the country, nearly 3.2 million people are internally displaced in Iraq as a result of ongoing violence. Overall, it is estimated that 11 million Iraqis, nearly half of them children, are in need of humanitarian assistance. UNICEF estimates that one in every five schools is not functional and those that are operating are overcrowded. More than 600,000 displaced children have missed an entire school year.

UNICEF Canada is pleased that the commitment made today reiterates the importance of the educational needs of children and youth. Investing in education is a critical humanitarian intervention that provides both immediate support for children, and long-term investments towards rebuilding a country and ensuring the next generation has the skills to rebuild a stronger, more resilient, peaceful society. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable. Creating opportunities to prevent them from being drawn into violence and conflict is critical."

Stats and facts:

  • In March, the Syria crisis will enter its sixth year.
  • A total of 5.4 million Syrian children and youth inside Syria (of whom 2.1 million are out of school) need educational assistance
  • In the five host countries—Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey—1.4 million Syrian refugee children and youth are in need of educational assistance and 50 per cent of them are out of school.


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 more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.


Image with caption: "UNICEF Canada (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160208_C5653_PHOTO_EN_615773.jpg

For further information: To arrange interviews or for more information please contact: Tiffany Baggetta, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8892, 647-308-4806 (mobile), tbaggetta@unicef.ca; Stefanie Carmichael, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8866, 647-500-4320 (mobile), scarmichael@unicef.ca


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