Damascus, 3 March 2023 (TDI): The catastrophic earthquake in Syria has left 3.7 million children exposed to numerous combinations of threats.

The Executive Director of UNICEF, Catherine Russel called for immediate action to address the issue, at the end of a two-day visit to Syria.

There is an unending menace of contagious, contact-transmitted, and waterborne diseases to children and displaced families. The children surviving the earthquake are also enduring lifelong emotional and psychological traumas.

The lack of access to basic amenities has aggravated miseries, increasing risks for vulnerable Syrian families and children already surviving the regional crisis for almost 12 years now.

Catherine Russel stated that Syrian Children have endured unspeakable horror and heartbreaks. The earthquake and its aftershocks have shattered and demolished homes, schools, and places for children to play.

It has worn out any sense of security for Syrian children and families. She met children in a temporarily built learning space in Aleppo.

More than 250 children are currently living in a collective shelter with access to educational activities, mobile health services, physiological first aid, and health services.

Russel, as well, visited a UNICEF-supported purified water station. It provides clean water to about two-thirds of the population in Aleppo.

After the earthquake, many displaced families are forced to live in cramped shelters. Uninterrupted access to water and sanitation is essential in preventing diseases such as cholera, acute diarrhea, scabies, and others.

A commendable achievement has been attained in North-West Syria. UNICEF has been able to reach 400,000 affected people who previously did not have access to water, sanitation, hygiene services, and supplies.

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Before the earthquake, UNICEF had critical humanitarian supplies on standby in case of any crisis. The humanitarian supplies started reaching the survivors within 48 hours following the initial earthquake.

About 1.8 million people have been supported in North-West Syria by UNICEF trucks carrying aid and supplies.

Currently, UNICEF needs 172.7 million USD to continue delivering immediate life-saving support to 5.4 million people, including 2.6 million children in earthquake-affected areas.

UNICEF requires flexible and unearmarked support to respond to children affected anywhere in the world.