On the day the UNHCR have announced that the number of Syrian refugees has reached the one million mark, David Bull, UNICEF UK Executive Director said:
"The arrival of the millionth refugee across the Syrian border is a grim milestone. Of those million refugees, at least half are children; many of whom have suffered tragic loss and witnessed horrific violence. In Syria itself, a further two million children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
"It is wrong that even one child in Syria or outside its borders is living in fear or without the basic help needed to survive and UNICEF is working day and night to reach children affected and provide vital help.
"UNICEF is one of the few international humanitarian organisations working within Syria. We are providing children in Syria and refugee children in 5 neighbouring countries (Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt) with safe drinking water, essential vaccines and nutrition, education, clothing, protection and other vital support.
"However, we are desperately short of funds for this very real and immediate crisis.
"Unless an 80 percent funding gap is bridged UNICEF will be forced to scale back on our life saving interventions. For example, as of next month, we might not have enough funds to provide children and their families in Syria with clean drinking water. Without this, many thousands of children could be exposed to serious and potentially life-threatening waterborne diseases.
"We need donations urgently, and we need them now. As little as £5 could provide water for a week for a family in Syria. Please text the word DONATE to 70099 to give £5. Thank you.”
1. Almost two years of conflict and intensified fighting in Syria has resulted in a rapid escalation of refugee numbers, now reaching one million - of which half are children - and within Syria itself 2 million children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. UNICEF is one of the few international humanitarian organisations within Syria working for children and the needs are great.
2. Chronic underfunding is threatening the delivery of UNICEF’s vital humanitarian work both within Syria and in surrounding countries.
3. Whilst UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organisation, are active on the ground providing children with safe drinking water, essential vaccines and nutrition, clothing and other support, a huge shortfall in funding has meant that there is a danger that UNICEF will be forced to scale back on even life saving interventions.
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For more information or an interview with David Bull or a UNICEF spokesperson in UK or Jordan, please contact the UNICEF press office on 020 7375 6030
Donations can be made by:
* text the word DONATE to 70099 to give £5 NOW
* online at unicef.org.uk<http://unicef.org.uk><http://unicef.org.uk>
* or call 0800 037 9797
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