UNICEF scales up emergency response for children affected by crisis in Syria

UNICEF scales up emergency response for children affected by crisis in Syria
# 06 September 2012 21:54 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday that there is a growing need for health and malnutrition care for children in Syria and the surrounding countries of Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, underlining the need to scale up emergency health, nutrition response for children affected in the Syrian crisis, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"Conflict has disrupted health services across Syria so most refugee children and their families have not had access to routine immunizations or other basic health services," UNICEF’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Director Maria Calivis said in a UNICEF press release issued here.

"Thousands of Syrian children are being screened to prevent malnutrition as part of a regional response to meet the growing health and nutrition needs of an estimated 1.3 million children affected by the ongoing crisis -- including children inside Syria and in surrounding countries," said the press release.

"This work is vital because during a crisis children are most vulnerable to disease outbreaks and malnutrition, especially children living in camp settings like Za’atari," UNICEF’s Middle East Regional Health Advisor Mahendra Sheth said.

Za’atari is a refugee camp located in Northern Jordan that offers nutrition screenings with their weekly immunization clinic.

Aside from Za’tari refugee camp, UNICEF and local partners are monitoring and responding to nutritional needs of children in and surrounding areas of Damascus, the capital of Syria.

There are "eight mobile medical teams are to be dispatched to reach 175,000 people in many regions hardest hit by the ongoing conflict including Aleppo, Damascus, Dara’a, Hama and Homs," said the press release.

In Lebanon and Iraq, two countries that have taken in Syrian refugees have more than 40,000 and 15,000 Syrian refugees who are helped with shelter, immunizations and nutritional status of children of five years and under are being monitored closely.

UNICEF and the Ministry of Health with the World Health Organization (WHO) and partner agencies will launch a large-scale polio and measles vaccination campaign targeting more than 100,000 children in Za’atari, nearby transit centers, and communities hosting refugees in northern Jordan.

UNICEF is continuing its ongoing appeal for increase funding for Syria and surrounding countries, said the press release.