07 February 2023 – UNICEF Australia has today launched an appeal to help tens of thousands of children impacted by the devastating earthquake on the Syrian-Turkish border.
UNICEF teams are working around the clock to get life-saving supplies to the devastated region such as medical aid, blankets, warm clothing, clean drinking water, sanitation, shelter as well as reuniting separated children with their families.
The need for urgent assistance to children and families comes in addition to the 6.5 million children already at risk in Syria as a result of 12 long years of war, where more than 90 per cent of the population live in poverty.
With the death toll currently at 3500 and expected to climb, UNICEF Australia CEO Tony Stuart said the required humanitarian response will only continue to grow.
“The announcement of a $3 million contribution from the Australian Government today to UNICEF will help deliver immediate urgent shelter, clean water and sanitation in Syria, with a focus on women and girls. I thank Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for his swift response to help those in greatest need.”
“UNICEF Australia has also launched an appeal to ensure our teams on the ground can respond now and continue to do so well into the future,” Mr Stuart said.
The powerful earthquake that hit at 4am yesterday forced families out of their homes and into the freezing temperatures in the midst of winter.
UNICEF spokesperson Joe English said, “The needs are going to be immense... not days or weeks, this will take months. We are there and we are responding.”
Mr English said containing the existing cholera outbreak in Syria was critical and preventing further diseases as well as treating children for trauma.
“When you have large numbers of people living without adequate access to safe drinking water and sanitation, diseases like cholera and water-borne diseases can spread like wildfire.
“We also need to be providing children with someone to speak to about what they have been through because, for many of these children, these scenes will be reminiscent of previous experiences for them when they have been forced from their homes by rocket attacks and air strikes. UNICEF works with child protection specialists to work with children to process this trauma.”
In the peak of winter, families who were able to escape buildings have been forced into below freezing conditions, facing rain and snow in some areas.
Through UNICEF’s 75 years’ experience working with children in large scale emergencies, our teams are well-equipped and prepared to provide life-saving assistance immediately.
Within 72 hours of an emergency, UNICEF can fearlessly delivers critical supplies anywhere around the world.
How you can Help:
$40 could provide 8000 water purification tablets, to create safe drinking water for children.
$95 can provide an emergency shelter kit for two families, helping to protect children and keep them warm and safe.
Donate to UNICEF Australia’s Syria appeal: www.unicef.org.au/earthquake