Millions of Syrian children face even worse hardship after the earthquake

Japanese aid deliveries to Syria after the earthquake
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The United Nations (UN) warned Thursday of grave risks to 3.7mn children in parts of war-wracked Syria affected by last month’s earthquake. The warning came as the UN children’s agency chief visited the country.

The February 6 earthquake that struck neighbouring Turkey killed more than 50,000 people, including almost 6,000 in Syria, according to officials and medics.

In Syria alone, at least 8.8mn people have been affected by the devastating quake, according to the United Nations.

Potentially catastrophic

UNICEF, the UN children’s agency said:

The 3.7 million children in affected areas of Syria… are facing several growing and potentially catastrophic threats.

It cited the disaster’s emotional and psychological impact. Further, the increased risk of disease and “a lack of access to basic services for families left vulnerable by almost 12 years of conflict” are also a concern.

UNICEF’s executive director Catherine Russell visited Syria on Thursday. She said:

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The children of Syria have already endured unspeakable horror and heartbreak.

The quake and aftershocks, she added:

…not only destroyed more homes, schools and places for children to play, they also shattered any sense of safety for so many of the most vulnerable children and families.

Russell tweeted a video of her time in Syria, highlighting the combined devastation of war and natural disaster:

Life-saving support

UNICEF said it needed “$172.7 million to deliver immediate life-saving support for 5.4 million people, including 2.6 million children, impacted by the earthquake” in Syria.

“Providing access to essential services, like safe water, health care and psychosocial support” can help families begin to rebuild their lives, Russell added in the statement.

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday urged the international community to help Syria:

The UN has launched a $397 million appeal to help quake victims in Syria. However, Tedros warned that “we are not getting as much as what is needed for this emergency”.

Syria’s children have been affected by a long and brutal war, and now a devastating earthquake. Aid is coming in, but, as experts warn, it isn’t coming fast enough.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under CC BY 4.0.

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    1. Hearing news of the devastating earthquake across Turkey and Syria we hear that access of aid into Syria has in large measure to be allowed by Turkey through its territorial routes. Turkey in conflict over decades with Muslim Kurds where Kurdish areas have been hit by the earthquake will, we are with possible justified suspicion, inclined to suspect that aid specific to Kurds could be impeded from the Turkish side. We hope this is not true and that Turkey facilitates for the Kurds the help they need. I have tried to learn of donation channels that go direct to Syria and the Kurds ~ this is difficult. One is aware that within Syria the White Helmets volunteer group are, we are led to believe, much respected for charitable endeavour in Syria all through the Syrian troubles as well now with the terrible earthquake. If anyone knows of direct trusted donation routes to Syria please share here. Thank you

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