UNICEF has welcomed the British Government’s commitment to quadruple its aid to help fund the UN emergency response efforts reaching Syrian refugee children and families. 

Earlier today Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell visited the Za’atari refugee camp in northern Jordan where more than 3,500 Syrians are staying. Half are estimated to be children and adolescents. 

Mr Mitchell toured Za’atari visiting a UNICEF-supported ‘Child Friendly Space’ – a safe place where children can play, learn and receive psychosocial support. 

“Conditions in the desert camp are difficult and funds are urgently needed to scale up emergency response efforts,” said UNICEF Jordan Acting Representative Michele Servadei. “We are pleased with the British government’s commitment and are optimistic other donor nations will provide similar support.”

The funding announced today will contribute to UNICEF’s work in the Za’atari camp and in neighbouring Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.  

It will enable the scaling-up of essential water, sanitation and hygiene assistance, and support more than 5,000 distressed children needing special care after witnessing violence in Syria.

Working closely with partners, UNICEF leads the provision of drinking water, hygiene, and sanitation services to the Za’atari camp. 

So far, UNICEF has installed fifteen 10,000-litre tanks for drinking water, along with showers, latrines and hand washing basins sufficient to meet the needs of up to 5,000 people. UNICEF has also set-up five Child Friendly Spaces and a playground. 

The UN estimates 1.5 million people in Syria are in need of assistance. More than 130,000 Syrian refugees have been registered in neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. UNICEF has appealed for US$39 million (£24.8 million) to support its regional emergency response plan to the crisis. So far it has received US$18.7 million (£11.9 million) - less than half of the funds needed. 

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Note to editors:
UNICEF spokespeople in Jordan are available for interview. Photos of Andrew Mitchell’s visit to Za’atari camp this morning are also available on request.
For more information please contact:

Ju-Lin Tan, UNICEF UK, 020 7375 6030, 07814 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.