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Joint press release issued by:
Logo: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Logo of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Four years of war in Syria – there must be an end to the people's misery


Protected area for Syrian refugee children and families in Jordan. The centre is run by Jordanian NGOs with support by UNICEF and financial help by the German government.

16.03.2015 |

Berlin – German Development Minister Gerd Müller and Christian Schneider, Managing Director of UNICEF Deutschland, have called attention to the desperate ongoing situation of the people in the region and, in particular, to the precarious conditions for displaced children. According to official figures, more than 10,000 children have already lost their lives in this conflict.

The Syrian civil war is now in its fourth year and has led to the biggest humanitarian crisis of the last two decades. "I can only repeat, we must not turn our backs on the Syria crisis," German Minister Müller insisted. "More than seven million children in Syria and its neighbouring countries have been affected by this tragedy. They are innocent victims of this war and need our help; they need food and medical care. At the same time, however, they need to be given prospects for the future. We must see to it that these children and young people do not become a lost generation. For they are the ones who will rebuild Syria once this conflict is over. Next week, I will visit the region and see for myself how German support for Syrian and Palestinian refugees is being implemented in Lebanon and along the Turkish-Syrian border. The situation is grave across the entire region and there is still an urgent need for rapid, practical assistance that is tailored to the concrete needs of the people."

"For four years now, the children have been hit by the full brunt of this cruel conflict," said Christian Schneider, Managing Director of UNICEF Deutschland. "The younger ones have never experienced anything other than violence and displacement. Just recently, in Lebanon, I saw for myself how unbearable the mental anguish has become for the children in the region. Ever since this humanitarian crisis began, the German government has been a reliable partner for UNICEF, helping us to help these children by providing psychosocial support and emergency schools. Two million Syrian refugee children along with poor families in host communities in all of Syria's neighbouring countries need sustained support. Only then can the young people of this region, who have lost everything to the war during a critical period of their lives, grow up to become a generation that is capable of shaping a peaceful future."

Germany is the second largest donor for UNICEF in the Syria crisis after the USA. The BMZ works closely with UNICEF to improve the lives of children and young people. The BMZ has made more than 140 million euros in special funding available to UNICEF to respond to the Syria crisis.

"UNICEF is one of our most important partners in the region," Federal Minister Müller said. "We want to ensure that support is coordinated in a professional manner and that humanitarian assistance and long-term support to develop infrastructure for the many refugees are linked closely together. We need to embrace innovative methods in order to properly assist the refugees and the host communities in neighbouring countries. Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt have been put under great strain by the endless stream of refugees. The willingness to help is increasingly being tested to its limits."

In June 2014, UNICEF and Lebanon's Ministry of Education initiated the RACE programme (Reaching all Children with Education). It is a best practice example of how to link emergency relief and transitional development cooperation. Germany is funding roughly 80 per cent of the programme with a contribution of 34 million euros. This will allow roughly 1,000 state-run schools in Lebanon to offer primary education to some 100,000 children.

In addition, the German government is contributing 4.1 million euros to a polio immunisation programme run by UNICEF and WHO. Under this programme, 25 million children in Syria and its neighbouring states, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt, are to be vaccinated against polio.

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