Press Info Sheet

Scorching summer temperatures - reaching 45 degrees - are putting thousands of Syrian refugee children who have recently fled into Iraq at serious risk.

Around 30,000 refugees have entered Iraq from Syria since Thursday. Just yesterday, 4800 Syrians arrived in Iraq - 2100 of who were children. Many were under the age of 12. 

UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organisation, is working with partner organisations in Northern Iraq to ferry tens of thousands of litres of clean water and high energy biscuits to border crossing points. Specialist teams are identifying children who have arrived alone or who have been separated from their families, so they are registered and given long-term help. 

Since Sunday, UNICEF has identified at least 80 boys who have arrived without family members.  Many are young teenagers sent across the border by their families for safety. They are extremely vulnerable and need extra protection.

The number of refugees entering Iraq is expected to grow over the coming days, with UNICEF staff reporting a stream of children and families still making their way through the check points between Syria and Iraq.

David Bull, Executive Director of UNICEF UK says: 

“In order to escape the violence in Syria, young children are being forced to walk for hours on end in searing temperatures hitting 45 degrees.  

These children have lost everything they have ever known and are arriving in Iraq seriously dehydrated, exhausted and in urgent need of water and shelter.

With our emergency response work in Iraq seriously under-funded, we fear our already-stretched resources will be driven to breaking point, unless we raise more funds urgently.

Many of the new refugees say they are planning to join relatives in Domiz Refugee Camp which was built for 15,000 refugees and is already bursting with 45,000 people who are seeking shelter there.

Global leaders must urgently turn their attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the conflict in Syria.

If urgent action is not taken to step up aid, the futures of an entire generation of Syrian children could be lost forever.”




Notes for editors:

For further information, please contact:

Rose Foley, Media Manager News & Emergencies, UNICEF UK on

Tel: +44 (0)20 7375 6077/ +44 (0)20 7375 6030 or

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