UNICEF Announces Refugee Support Package for 2.6 Million Children

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On Tuesday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) officially announced a package of assistance for 2.6 million Syrian children living inside the war-ravaged country or as refugees around the region and beyond, including cash assistance, in addition to ongoing humanitarian programs.

During winter months, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Peter Salama, says, “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.”

The Syrian crisis has displaced more than three million children inside the country, sometimes multiple times and in neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt more than 2.2 million children are now living as refugees, UNICEF said.

The package of assistance to be provided by UNICEF will support 2.6 million Syrian children living inside the country and across the region, with the focus mainly on children who have been hit the hardest, including the internally displaced and those living in hard-to-reach areas or in informal tented settlements.

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According to UNICEF, work is underway in Syria to provide up to one million children with winter support, including the distribution of locally procured clothing kits, blankets and school heaters in addition to the distribution of cash vouchers – allowing families to buy their own winter needs.

The agency said that an additional 100,000 children will be reached through cross border initiatives from Turkey and Jordan. Vouchers and cash transfers make up the bulk of UNICEF’s winter response in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan.

The support will be an addition to ongoing initiatives in health, education, water and sanitation and protection which continue to reach millions of children around the region, and the recently introduced programs to provide cash assistance and vouchers to families with children up to 15 years of age.

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