Syria Jacqui Southey UNICEF NZ
Syria “As the eyes of the world focus on the mounting violence in Syria, we must not overlook the fact that while children are not responsible for this tragedy, they’re paying a terrible price,” Children are losing their lives, losing their homes, losing their parents and losing their schooling. UNICEF supports people of conscience everywhere calling on all parties to do everything in their power to protect the innocents.” Anthony Lake, Executive Director UNICEF http://www.unicef.org.nz/syriachildrensemergency
Syria is involved in a violent internal conflict. In early 2011 peaceful demonstrations took place with political activists demanding greater freedom for the people of Syria. The Syrian Government reacted with violent crackdowns on Syrian civilians. Since then retaliations have been going on between both sides – the Government and the Opposition (Free Syrian Army); leading to full blown civil war. cbsnews.com
Thousands of innocent people including women and children are being affected. Their lives are completely disrupted as they are forced to leave their homes in order to escape the fighting and search for safety.
More than 8 million people are currently affected by the violence, and rising. • 4.25 million have fled their homes and are now internally displaced. • 2 million people have become refugees, and have fled to neighbouring countries; Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. • UNICEF estimate 75% of the refugees are women and children. (September 2013)
What is the difference between refugees and IDPs? ©REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
Internally Displaced Person IDP stands for Internally Displaced Person. IDPs have fled their homes, businesses, jobs, towns, villages or cities, but still remain within the borders of their country.
Refugees Refugees are people who have fled their country. Often it is in response to dangerous conditions, and many have to leave illegally and in secrecy.
Many refugees have little or no opportunity to take any belongings, they flee with just the clothes on their back and what they can carry. Syrian refugees are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, especially the children. Many are wounded, exhausted, terrified and have health and nutrition problems.
How is UNICEF helping? We are working with partners to support the Syrian people affected by the conflict. Children are our priority. We are focusing on: - WASH; Water Sanitation and Hygiene- Immunisation and Health - Education and Psychosocial Support - Nutrition - Child Protection
WASH - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Providing safe drinking water. Installing permanent latrines, bathing facilities, wash basins. Installing mobile wash units, containing these facilities.
Education Watch and learn about child friendly spaces in Lebanon We are working to provide safe spaces and equipment to help Syrian children return to school.
Psychosocial Support Psychosocial support helps children to overcome the extreme trauma they have experienced, or continue to experience. Play, art, education and counselling sessions in a safe environment are designed to help children return to a sense of normality.
Nutrition Children are being screened for malnutrition in IDP and refugee camps. Children found to be underweight are being treated with therapeutic food: • High Energy Biscuits • High Energy Peanut Paste • Breastfeeding is also being encouraged as it is the most nourishing and safest food for babies.
Immunisation We are immunising children to protect them from two highly contagious and dangerous diseases; polio and measles. Living in a refugee camp makes children more vulnerable to catching diseases.
Discussion Questions • According to Anthony Lake Executive Director of UNICEF, how are children being affected by the Syrian conflict? • Explain the difference between an IDP and refugee. Can you give some examples of each? • Why do refugees and IDPs need help from organisations like UNICEF? • Describe some of the ways UNICEF is helping Syrian IDPs and refugees. • Check out our Syrian Children’s Emergencyappeal on our UNICEF website.
Photos • © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0206/AlessioRomenzi; February 2012 – Syrian people in a street where a man was killed. • © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0570/AlessioRomenzi; April 2012 - a man, 2 women and 2 children attempt to cross the Syrian border into Turkey, to escape the violence in Syria. • ©REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed; September 2012 - Syrian refugee children hold an upside down UNICEF flag as they play at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria September 9, 2012. • © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0218/AlessioRomenzi; February 2012 - children shelter in a doorway of a house, amid shelling and gunfire, in a Syrian city affected by the conflict. • © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0238/Kate Brooks; March 2012 – a refugee woman holds her infant in a temporary shelter, in the Bekaa Region, Lebanon. Like many refugees she is reluctant to register for aid, fearing that they, or family members still in Syria, will face retaliation. • © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0867/Kate Brooks; July 2012 – children wash their clothes in Za’atari, a tented camp in Jordan for Syrian refugees. UNICEF assistance in this camp includes the provision of WASH facilities, and partners with Save the Children to provide child friendly spaces. • © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0853/Kate Brooks; July 2012 – Syrian refugee and Jordanian children – all of whom are participating in a summer camp - display their backpacks that they have received from UNICEF , in Amman the capital of Jordan. • © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0196/GiacomoPirozzi; March 2012 – an 8 year old refugee from Syria, draws a scene of soldiers firing on people and buildings, during a UNICEF assisted art therapy session in the Ramtha facility, Jordan. She draw this in response to a request that children draw their most frightening experience. • © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-1128/Salah Malkawi; September 2012 – a health worker vaccinates a girl against measles, during a UNICEF supported immunisation campaign in a mobile hospital in the Za’atari Camp in Jordan.
Answers • Losing their lives, homes, parents and schooling. • An IDP is a displaced person still living within their country, whereas a refugee is a person who has escaped their country to live in another country. • IDPs and refugees have often fled in a hurry in dangerous conditions. They often have few belongings little or no money and can become injured or sick during their flight. They no longer have jobs or homes, so must rely on help from others to improve their situation. • Providing services in IDP and refugee camps such as; immunisations, providing water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, screening children for malnutrition, providing child friendly play and education spaces, supporting education and psychosocial support programmes. For more information contact Jacqui Southey – UNICEF NZ