UNICEF helps 2.6 million Syrian children facing harsh winter

UNICEF helps 2.6 million Syrian children facing harsh winter
2 min read
10 December, 2015
Syrian children displaced by ongoing fighting will receive additional aid from the UN children's agency to help them cope with the perishing conditions forecast this winter.
Syrian children face harsher conditions this winter than they did last year [Anadolu]
UNICEF has announced an aid package for 2.6 million Syrian children to help them cope with the harsh winter conditions forecast for this year.

The UN agency for children aims to reach youngsters living in Syria, as well as refugees in surrounding countries.

The package includes cash assistance and will complement on-going humanitarian programmes.

"These months are particularly brutal for children. They are at higher risk of developing respiratory infections in the cold weather, and - tragically - they are also in danger when families burn plastic or other toxic materials inside their shelters to keep warm," said Peter Salama, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, in a news release.

The forecast for this winter is harsher than last year's, with temperatures in some mountainous regions expected to fall as low as -13 degrees Celsius in December and January, said UNICEF.
     Temperatures in some mountainous regions are expected to fall as low as -13 degrees Celsius

Storms and snowfall will add to the burden of families already struggling to survive under normal conditions.

More than three million children have been displaced by the Syrian crisis, and more than 2.2 million of them are living as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, said the humanitarian agency.

Many families have used up their financial resources after five years of civil war, making it impossible for them to buy warm clothes to survive the winter months.

UNICEF will focus on children who have been most badly affected by the crisis, including those living in hard-to-reach areas or informal settlements.

It will focus on distributing locally secured clothing kits, blankets and school heaters as well as cash vouchers so that families can buy things to help them survive the cold weather.

The bulk of the agency's support in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan will be in the form of vouchers and cash transfers.

On-going humanitarian programmes in the area focusing on areas such as health, education, water and sanitation will continue, as will a recently introduced programme to provide cash assistance and vouchers to families with children up to 15 years of age.

UNICEF this week launched its appeal for $1.1 billion to support its programmes in Syria and surrounding countries in 2016.

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