Funding crisis threatens aid to 9 million Syrian children: UNICEF

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On 18 May 2017 in Al-Tabqa city in the Syrian Arab Republic, Hasan, 12 (red shirt) and his friends walk past a destroyed car. He and his family have been uprooted twice due to violence, forcing him to drop out of school in Grade 3. Photo: UNICEF/UN066042/Souleiman

A major funding gap means that the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) may have to cut "critical and life-saving activities" in support of around nine million children in Syria and surrounding countries.

UNICEF said on Friday that it had received only a quarter of the US$1.4 billion that it needs to fund emergency operations this year inside Syria and in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.

More details from Matthew Wells.

UNICEF's Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere, was blunt, declaring that the US$220 million shortfall represents "the most severe funding gap" the agency has had since it began responding to the Syria crisis more than six years ago.

"Humanitarian needs continue to grow, day by day" within Syria he said, adding that pressure on the generous host communities across war-torn Syria's borders was "seriously jeopardizing their ability to make ends meet."

Inside Syria, as the seventh year of war drags on, nearly six million children are in need of aid, while more than 2.5 million live as refugees in neighbouring countries.

UNICEF said that some of the programmes it might be forced to cut included safe water and sanitation services, access to healthcare and nutrition treatments, cash assistance, as well as clothes and blanket distributions.

Without lifeline funding, children would likely have to take "extreme and dangerous survival measures," said Mr Cappelaere.

"Progress to prevent a whole generation from being lost could be reversed," he added.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’01″

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