Millions of displaced Syrian children brace for yet another harsh winter

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Syrian child struggling to stay warm – UNHCR

Nearly 5.5 million Syrian children will soon face another season of harsh winter weather putting a further strain on their  health and well-being,  according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

UNICEF says millions of displaced children face inadequate living conditions and in the freezing temperatures and rain , children under five are especially vulnerable to opportunistic illnesses like acute respiratory infections which spread easily in overcrowded settings.

UNICEF says 4.3 million children are displaced inside Syria and 1.2 million are living in refugee camps, tented settlements and host communities in the neighbouring countries.

Marixie Mercado from UNICEF in Geneva says the fund is distributing winter clothing, blankets, plastic sheeting and hygiene kits, as well as procuring 370 winterized tents for classrooms and child-friendly spaces.

"UNICEF has been working since early October to equip children as possible for the cold. Winter clothing sets, blankets, plastic sheeting are being distributed along with winterized tents and fuel to heat classrooms. UNICEF is also pre-positioning fuel in hard to reach areas inside Syria, so that safe access is available throughout the winter. UNICEF is reinforcing drainage systems, de-sludging water tanks and constructing concrete foundations for family tents and in camps across the region."

UNICEF says it urgently needs to raise at least $13 million to provide winter-related emergency supplies to children and families in Syria and neighbouring countries.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

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