Funding gaps threaten to leave nearly 1 million children out in the cold in the Middle East and North Africa

UNICEF facing £26 million funding shortfall for lifesaving winter supplies and cash assistance for children, placing them at risk of missing school, illness or death

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Funding gaps threaten to leave nearly 1 million children out in the cold in the Middle East and North Africa

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27 November 2018 – With cold and rainy weather sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa, nearly 1 million children affected by crises in the region risk being left out in the cold. UNICEF is facing nearly a £26 million funding gap – two thirds of the total appeal – for lifesaving winter assistance for children, including warm clothes, blankets and winter health, water, sanitation and hygiene supplies.

“Years of conflict, displacement and unemployment have reduced families’ financial resources to almost nothing. Staying warm has simply become unaffordable,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “With little nutritious food and healthcare, children have grown weak, becoming prone to hypothermia and dangerous respiratory diseases. Without help to protect them from the freezing weather, these children are likely to face dire consequences.”

Falling temperatures will bring even further hardship to thousands of families who are living in extremely basic conditions especially in camps or crowded shelters with little protection from the freezing cold. Last winter, two children died from the cold as they were attempting to flee the war in Syria to Lebanon in search of safety.

Overall this winter, UNICEF aims to reach 1.3 million children in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt with warm clothes; thermal blankets; water, sanitation, health and hygiene support; and cash assistance for families. UNICEF’s winter response complements existing programmes in health, nutrition, water and sanitation, protection and education and aims to keep vulnerable children across the region warm, heathy and in school this winter.

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For more information, please contact: 

Unicef UK Media Team, 0207 375 6030, media@unicef.org.uk 

About Unicef 

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. 

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. 

For more information please visit unicef.org.uk 

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