United Nations humanitarian convoy to Rukban: UNICEF delivers lifesaving vaccines, medicines and nutritional supplies for 50,000 people

Friday, November 9, 2018 Lifestyle News
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DAMASCUS, Nov. 9, 2018 /CNW/ - UNICEF, with United Nations partners and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, concluded a six-day humanitarian aid convoy

to Rukban camp in southeast Syria near the Jordanian border. This is the first convoy to the camp from within Syria, where nearly 50,000 people live, the majority of whom are women and
children. The last aid delivery to the area was in January from Jordan.

UNICEF sent 21 trucks of humanitarian assistance as part of the convoy and supported 21 vaccinators with vaccines, cold chain equipment and medical supplies to immunize 10,000 children against measles, polio and other childhood diseases in the camp. This has been one of the most complex humanitarian operations in Syria with over 75 trucks and more than 100 humanitarian and logistics workers delivering aid to people in need in Syria south-eastern desert conditions. 

"Children and women in Rukban have had extremely limited access to health services amid worsening conditions," said Fran Equiza, UNICEF Representative in Syria. "UNICEF advocated extensively with all relevant parties to include vaccinators in the convoy to protect children against life-threatening diseases."

"Most children under-five years old had never been vaccinated," said Dr. Husam Eddine Baradee, UNICEF's Health & Nutrition Officer who accompanied the convoy. "Despite the challenges, we were able to vaccinate 5,100 children in the few days we had access to the camp, yet we absolutely need sustained access as thousands more children still need to be immunised."

UNICEF staff described the conditions in the camp as dire with many people having to survive on just one meal a day. "I barely eat anything at all because my priority is to feed my children," a mother told UNICEF "I get dizzy when I breastfeed these days," she added.

UNICEF's supplies sent with the convoy included much-needed health, nutrition, water and sanitation supplies in addition to winter clothing for children under-14 years old and basic medicines, including antibiotics.

UNICEF calls on all parties to the conflict to allow all those displaced to voluntarily return to their homes or a place of their choosing in safety and dignity, and guarantee sustained humanitarian access to be able to deliver assistance to all children in need in Rukban and elsewhere in Syria.

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UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit unicef.ca For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.


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