|Syrian Families Without Vital Aid as Humanitarian Response Faces Major Funding Shortage Ahead of Major Donor Conference|
Francine Uenuma (202) 640-6810 (O), (202) 450-9153 (M)
|Hassan, 4, walks through a makeshift tented community in Lebanon's Beka'a valley that has become home to families who have fled the conflict in neighboring Syria. Photo by Sam Tarling/Save the Children|
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 29, 2013) — A huge funding shortfall is leaving thousands of Syrian children and families without essential aid, Save the Children has warned, as governments meet in Kuwait to provide aid to the region.
Syrian children are facing freezing temperatures, sometimes living in abandoned buildings and farms. Many have fled with their families with little or no food, some telling Save the Children staff that they even had to burn their clothes to warm themselves up.
More than 4.6 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, and refugee numbers have doubled in many places in the past few weeks.
In the face of this crisis, just 3 percent of the United Nation's $1.5 billion humanitarian appeal has been met as governments from around the world meet in Kuwait on Wednesday to offer assistance for Syria's refugees and displaced families.
"Every day, thousands of people are fleeing Syria or become displaced inside the country. Many of them literally run for their lives, escaping intensified fighting and shortages of food, medicines and fuel. They're terrified and need urgent aid," said Jasmine Whitbread, Save the Children International's Chief Executive.
"Fleeing families have suffered terribly and in many places are facing sub-zero temperatures, without shelter or warm clothes. Governments meeting in Kuwait need to give them a lifeline before it's too late."
Humanitarian needs created by the Syrian conflict have multiplied in recent weeks. This month, nearly 40,000 people have fled Syria into Jordan alone, double the number who arrived in December. Numbers of registered refugees overall have quadrupled in the past six months as the fighting intensifies.
Despite the huge cost of hosting over 700,000 refugees since the conflict began almost two years ago, countries around Syria have offered support to those who have fled.
But more funding is urgently required in order to provide lifesaving assistance to Syrian children and their families in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey as well as the millions of people displaced inside Syria.
"The international aid appeal for Syria has always been massively underfunded. Funds are urgently needed as the number of families in need of help increases by the day," said Ms. Whitbread.
Save the Children is bringing vital lifesaving assistance to children and their families in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, reaching nearly 130,000 people across the region. The aid agency is aiming to raise $94 million, with only a third funded so far.
To donate to Save the Children's response in Syria please visit: www.savethechildren.org/syria-donate
Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in more than 120 countries, including the United States. We aim to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives by improving their health, education and economic opportunities. In times of acute crisis, we mobilize rapid assistance to help children recover from the effects of war, conflict and natural disasters. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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