KUWAIT, – UN Children Fund (UNICEF), has highlighted Kuwait’s contributions to help Syrian people suffering from conflict that shattered their country, thus depriving millions from decent living conditions, health and nutrition, and education for children.

Syria has been facing the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with an estimated 13.5 million people in need of urgent life-saving assistance inside Syria, including six million children.

Families have been forced from their homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. More than four million people have fled the country and 6.5 million were internally displaced (IDPs).

The Kuwaiti government and people rushed to help their Syrian brethren soon after the conflict broke out in Mar, 2011, and have contributed USD 24 million, to help millions of people who have become either IDPs or refugees in neighbouring countries – Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq an Egypt.

UNICEF, in a report released last July, highlighting Kuwait’s contribution since June, 2015, said, the Arab Gulf country contributed USD 45 million to the Fund to support the “Syria Crisis Response.”

This contribution, a tiny part of Kuwait’s assistance, was divided into USD 24 million to support Syrian refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, while USD 21 million allocated to help the Whole of Syria.

The Syrian people’s needs have been growing with no resolution to the conflict, now in its fifth year, looked imminent. The conflict killed more than 250,000 people and wounded many others.

Children were particularly vulnerable to grave rights violations, such as recruitment into armed groups, including exploitation and abuse. Access to basic services such as education, health care, water sanitation and social services remained inadequate.

Some 26 hospitals in Syria were not functioning, resulting in 42 percent of population lacking access to basic health care. One-third of children under five years old have not been reached with routine immunisation, said the UNICEF report.

It noted that one in every four schools was destroyed or damaged, and more than two million children were out of school. This situation was further aggravated by water shortages, where around 70 percent of population live without regular access to water, both due to deliberate cuts by parties to the conflict and extensive damage to water infrastructure.

Kuwait, answering the UN calls, made generous contribution to UNICEF, to support the Syrian people.

The purpose of this USD 45 million contribution was to address large scale humanitarian needs by targeting the most vulnerable through prioritised, life-saving interventions that alleviated suffering, while maintaining and protecting human dignity.

The contribution enabled UNICEF to address needs of children and their families inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, thus enabled the UN agency to support safe water supply and other services, to prevent outbreak of diarrhea, typhoid, polio, and other water-borne and contagious diseases.

UNICEF and its partners reached 4.8 million people inside Syria and 954,124 refugees with water sanitation and hygiene interventions, which included clean drinking water. These supplies, said the report, were critical to ensure a healthy environment.

The Kuwait funding has also enabled UNICEF to expand its human resources, financial preparedness and response capacity, not only for immediate life-saving interventions but also for building resilience through strengthening of national systems and capacities, to address medium- and long-term needs of refugees and host communities.

Kuwait’s role was not restricted to direct involvement in UNICEF’s activities, but through collaborating with other organisations to provide funding to support education, protecting children in Syria from losing hope in their future by giving them access to skills, knowledge and opportunities in safe places.

This collaboration, part of the “No Lost Generation” initiative, benefited 320,000 Syrian children inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.

“Children who are not in school are more vulnerable to protection risks, such as labour, begging or fending for themselves on the streets, and child marriages and forced recruitment to armed groups inside Syria,” said the report.

But the Kuwait funding provided tangible support to education and access to psycho-social support through recreational activities, counselling and sport, said the report.

The funding, added the report, continued to help 293,443 Syrian children regain a sense of normalcy in “their often turbulent lives.”

Much has been achieved but a lot remains to be done, said UNICEF, depicting a horrible picture of the conditions of the Syrian people.

It said about 5.1 million people inside Syria were living in areas with explosive remnants of war, while one in four children was at risk of developing a mental disorder. More than 6,000 schools – or some one-third of total schools – could no longer be used because they were destroyed, damaged, sheltering displaced families or being used for military purposes. More than 52,000 teachers have left the country.

The funding of Kuwait has reached hundreds of thousands of needy Syrians to help provide a variety of services like water, sanitation and hygiene, health and nutrition, education, in addition to clothes for winter.

UNICEF expressed utmost gratitude to Kuwait for its “significant and flexible” contribution, which has enabled the UN agency to maximise its response to needs of Syrian children and their families, both inside Syria and in the neighbouring countries.

“Kuwait funding has been critical to the Syria crisis emergency response and has enabled UNICEF to scale up operations through expanded capacities not only to save lives, but also to build resilience to address medium and long-term needs of Syria’s children, adolescents and their families,” said the UNICEF report.

Source: Nam News Network