With the intensified conflict in Syria causing a dramatic increase in the number of Syrian children and families fleeing to Jordan, UNICEF is rapidly scaling up its emergency assistance. 

UNICEF is providing essential support to the new Za’atari tented site near Mafraq in northern Jordan, which is expected to receive its first 5,000 Syrian refugees within days. It will have a capacity of up to 150,000. 

Along with partner the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief, UNICEF is supporting the site’s water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure to meet the urgent humanitarian needs. Already installed are water bladders, 80 mobile toilets, and 80 showers that will reach up to 5,000 people. Water tankers will be deployed as soon as refugees join the camp.

UNICEF has also provided additional emergency supplies to meet the initial needs of up to 25,000 people, including basic family water kits, Child Friendly Space tents, “school-in-a-box” sets, early childhood development kits, tarpaulins, plastic mats, and other emergency items. The first Child Friendly Space has already been erected. 

“We are witnessing a large-scale movement of children and families across Syria’s southern borders into Jordan, which is creating a developing humanitarian crisis,” said Dominique Hyde, UNICEF Jordan Representative. 

“UNICEF and partners are in a race against time to get clean water, toilets and showers ready at Za’atari before the first displaced Syrian families arrive here within days.”

More than 13,000 Syrians have arrived at the Jordan refugee transit sites since the beginning of July, almost half in the past week alone, placing increasing strain on facilities. UNICEF provides essential water, sanitation and hygiene services – including around 9,000 baby hygiene kits being distributed – at the four transit sites, along with child protection and education. 

The sites were intended to hold 2,160 new arrivals, but have now reached a record high with more than 10,000 refugees – over four times the capacity. More than 38,800 Syrians in Jordan are registered as refugees or awaiting registration. 

“More than half of all displaced Syrians are children and adolescents, who continue to face psychosocial distress from experiencing violence and displacement. We are seeing an upsurge in the number of women accompanied by their children.”

UNICEF is appealing for £11.4 million to support its emergency response in Jordan, of which some £6.9 million is still required. This includes £1.9 million now urgently required to support Za’atari site, to accommodate the growing influx of displaced Syrians.

UNICEF is also providing assistance to tens thousands of displaced Syrians in Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, as well as to affected families who remain in Syria.  

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Note to Editors:

UNICEF has spokespeople available in Jordan. To arrange an interview or for more information, please contact:
Ju-Lin Tan, UNICEF UK, + 44 (0)20 7375 6069, + 44 (0)7814 549 071, julint@unicef.org.uk


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.