UNICEF is accelerating plans to help children and families displaced by the Syria crisis deal with the coming winter, in a region where temperatures can plummet close to zero degrees Celsius.
Refugee community leaders at Za’atari camp in northern Jordan have voiced concerns about the impact of the cold temperatures, rain and strong winds on families who fled Syria wearing summer clothing and are living predominantly in tents. Around 30,000 Syrian refugees – half of them estimated to be children – are sheltering at the tented camp, located in a desert area near the Syrian border.
“UNICEF is stepping up plans to help refugees in northern Jordan cope with the approaching winter, which will be particularly harsh for younger children,” said Dominique Isabelle Hyde, UNICEF Jordan’s Representative. “UNICEF’s response includes warm clothes for children, hot water for showers, and winterised tents for child protection spaces and schools.”
All toilet and shower blocks at Za’atari camp are to be roofed, and hot water will be provided for 450 showers. UNICEF will also replace the existing tented spaces where children can safely play and receive psychological support with winterised double-skin tents featuring raised floors. Classroom space at nearby Ramtha has already been expanded with the provision of 15 pre-fabricated units. UNICEF is also moving forward with plans to help children and families in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq to cope with the winter conditions.
UNICEF UK Executive Director David Bull, who returned to the UK today following a visit to the camp in Jordan, said: “The needs are immense and growing, not just in Jordan but in Syria and neighbouring countries. UNICEF staff and partners have been working tirelessly to keep up with the increasing numbers of refugees and to provide essential basics for children like schooling, child protection, water and sanitation. Our job now will be to help raise the funds UNICEF so desperately needs to continue helping children affected by the crisis.”
During his visit to Jordan, Bull saw firsthand UNICEF’s emergency responses in education, child protection and water, sanitation and hygiene. He also met with refugee community leaders, children and families, and received briefings from UNICEF staff in Syria and Lebanon.
UNICEF has appealed for US$123 million (£76 million) for the crisis in Syria and affected neighbouring countries, but has so far only received just over a quarter of the funds needed.
Note to editors:
UNICEF UK Executive Director David Bull returns from his visit to Jordan today and will be available for media interviews. For more information, please contact:
Ju-Lin Tan, UNICEF UK, Media Manager, 020 7375 6030, 07814 549071, firstname.lastname@example.org
UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights in more than 190 countries. As champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF works to help every child realise their full potential. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN budget. For more information, please visit www.unicef.org.uk