UNICEF response to Syrian children freezing to death while crossing from Syria to Lebanon

Statement by Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa

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20 January 2018 – “It is tragic that at least 12 Syrians, including two children, have died in Eastern Lebanon near the Masna’ border crossing with Syria. Syrian people continue to risk their lives and the lives of their children in a desperate search for safety and shelter.

“Our thoughts are with the families who lost their loved ones, victims of a war that soon enters its eighth year. More children could be among the dead as residents in the area and the Lebanese authorities continue to look for people who are reportedly trapped in the mountains in freezing temperatures and snow

“Children in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, the State of Palestine, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt and in many-other countries across the globe living in conflict or impacted by conflict struggle every winter to keep warm.

“UNICEF and partners are helping families to cope with the harsh weather. UNICEF is distributing blankets, warm clothes, and fuel to heat schools.

“The deaths of these two Syrian children is however a reminder that much more needs to be done. The brutal wars have to stop and we all need to step up our generosity and assistance for the most affected children.

“We have no excuse. We cannot continue failing children!”

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • Since the start of winter, UNICEF has been helping families cope with the harsh weather.
  • As part of its package of assistance to families in need, UNICEF is distributing blankets, warm clothes, and fuel to heat schools in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and the State of Palestine,
  • Funding constraints are challenging UNICEF’s ability to continue this assistance. So far, UNICEF received only half of the funding needed for winter response.
  • If urgent funding is not received, UNICEF will not be able to reach nearly 800,000 children with winter assistance.

For more information please contact: Unicef UK Media Team on 0207 375 6030 / media@unicef.org.uk

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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