UNICEF Needs Your Help As Harsh Winter Threatens Child Refugees In The Middle East

As frigid temperatures, freezing rain and seasonal cold winds start to envelop conflict affected parts of the Middle East, UNICEF along with its partners has begun the process of distributing winter supplies such as warm clothes to ensure that children remain both healthy and warm. Whilst the UNICEF is doing everything it can to make sure no children are left out in the cold, the agency really needs your help.

“After all that they’ve suffered on account of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, the onset of winter and the growing number of families being displaced means that many children across the region desperately need protection. However, due to critical issues of access and funding gaps, many children will sadly not be reached.” said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

UNICEF faces funding shortage in Syria

There are over 400,000 internally displaced children in Syria that UNICEF is working to assist. Unfortunately there is a funding shortage which has meant that only 217,600 winter kits have been bought for distribution in 4 key areas including Aleppo, Homs, Qamishly and Tartous. The problem remains one of access which has been either impossible or limited as a result of the continuing fighting in the region.

The situation in Iraq is not much better

Another challenge is the Iraq situation, where UNICEF has been working to distribute over 223,000 winter kits in Kurdish areas where fighting over the last few months has displaced over half a million children. There are also plans to tackle the influx of children from Syria who are looking for shelter abroad in refugee camps, rural hamlets and school buildings. For many child refugees, this will be their first winter away from home.

UNICEF working in Lebanon

UNICEF is also working in Lebanon where it has distributed winter kits to over 100,000 children. The agency has also distributed vouchers to 75,000 children which will enable them to purchase clothing items in the local markets. UNICEF is also working to keep recreation and learning facilities warm by delivering insulation layers and plastic sheeting to Child Friendly Spaces and temporary schools.

Help UNICEF in its response to the crisis in the Middle East

The conflicts in Iraq and Syria combined have affected over 7 million children, which is sharply higher than the 5.6 million children affected just one year ago. Whilst the needs of conflict affected children are greater, the UNICEF response has been hampered by limited access and funding which means that over 200,000 children will not have any warm clothing this winter. You can help these children by making a donation to UNICEF and allowing them to continue with the vital work they do for children in conflict and disaster prone regions.

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