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By UNICEF Australia
30 March 2020

Violence pushes Syrian families to the borders

Recent escalation in northwest, Syria has devastated the region and displaced some 576,000 children since December last year. As conditions worsen, many families are choosing to face the harrowing journey to seek refuge and safety in  Europe. 

Many refugees are now concentrated on the border of Turkey and Greece. Families are facing harsh winter conditions and a severe lack of basic facilities.

UNICEF is on the ground, providing essential support to children and families including blankets, shelter, water, hygiene kits and other non-food items.

A group of children are seating on the floor by a barbed-wire fence. They have backpacks with them.
A family camped near the Turkey-Greece border.
©UNICEF/UNI308308/Turakoglu, ASAM
Two children walking down a street. One of them is carrying a UNICEF box over his head.
A child carries UNICEF supplies following a delivery in Turkey.
©UNICEF/UNI308348/Turakoglu, ASAM

Conflict continues in Yemen 

The world’s biggest humanitarian crisis in Yemen is still unfolding as the country enters its sixth year of fighting. The ongoing crisis has led to rising food insecurity, poor sanitation, lack of safe water and a collapse of essential services.

Children often face the harshest consequences of conflict. In Yemen there are currently over 360,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Mazen, 18-months-old, has grown up in the worst of the conflict. He suffered from malnutrition, skin diseases and another disease that resulted in losing one of his eyes. His health was rapidly deteriorating.

A woman in a burqa holds a baby.
Mazen is held by his mother.

He was taken to a UNICEF-supported specialist hospital in the area. With attentive care given by doctors, Mazen is now on the road to recovery. He is responding well to nutrition treatment and he will soon undergo surgery to help save his eye.

A baby is fed with sachet food.
Mazen eats ready-to-use therapeutic food while being held by his mother.

Flooding causes devastation in Madagascar   

More than 120,000 people have been affected by recent torrential flooding in Madagascar. Key roads have been washed away, schools have been damaged and many families in the region have been forced to leave their homes

Dolys,11, and his family were living in the area at the time. The family grabbed what few items they could carry and fled to a shelter site where thousands of others had also taken refuge.

A boy walks through flooded terrain. The water reached above his ankles.
Dolys,11, walking through flood waters.

"I was scared and tired because we didn't sleep through the night. My school supplies were damaged and the day after we left, our house was washed away," Dolys says.

As the country recovers and schools in the area begin to reopen, Dolys is excited to get back to learning. UNICEF is supporting Doly's and thousands of children to return to the classroom by providing essential school supplies.

A boy is writing on a chalkboard at school. His teacher is looking at him.
Despite the upheaval and loss, Dolys says he is trying to concentrate on his studies.

One year on from Cyclone Idai

One year ago, cyclones Idai and Kenneth tore through Mozambique, affecting millions of people and leaving a path of destruction in the region. 

UNICEF quickly coordinated emergency relief to the area, bringing much-needed support including nutrition, water and health programs to families that were affected. 

A girl walks through a damaged street. There's rugs and rubbish all over.
Girl walks through street that was damaged by Cyclone Idai.

A year on, challenges remain in the region. Recent floods and drought have exacerbated the situation.

Food shortages in the area have increased the number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. UNICEF has been screening and treating thousands of children for the condition, while also providing essential health services like vaccinations. 

A toddler is being assessed for malnutrition by a health worker.
A child being tested for malnutrition.

How a water pump can keep girls in school

For the community of Dialangou, Mali, the journey to access water used to be difficult and long. Residents were forced to walk a two-hour-round trip to access clean and safe water. 

In the village, the responsibility to fetch water fell mostly on young girls. The trek meant girls were late to school, or in some cases, missed entire days.

Two hands under a tap with running water.
A child uses a new water pump in Mali.

In partnership with the Government of Mali, UNICEF is supporting the construction of more than 160 new water points in isolated, rural villages around the region.

For Dialangou, the newly built water point is not only bringing clean water right into the village, it's also improving children's health and helping girls to stay in school for longer.

Two boys are actioning a manual water pump. Other three boys are on the tap side getting wet with the water that comes out of the tap. They all look happy.
Children celebrate the water coming out of a brand-new UNICEF water pump in Dialangou village, Mali.

Inspired? Even from here in Australia, you can do your bit!

UNICEF humanitarians do incredible work out in the field but you too can help all around the world by signing up to make a monthly gift & joining our special group of Global Parents.

UNICEF can reach children no one else can. We can provide safe places for children to learn and play, deliver clean water and life-changing supplies, bring a child back from severe malnutrition and make sure every child smiles. But we can’t do it alone. Help UNICEF deliver these things and more to every child.