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UNICEF says needs $900 mn to help Syria children

AFP , Thursday 18 Dec 2014
Syrian children
Members of the Civil Defence rescue children after what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo, June 2, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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UNICEF said Thursday it needs more than $900 million to help children affected by Syria's civil war next year and appealed to donors for support.

"The Syria crisis represents the biggest threat to children of recent times," UNICEF's regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, Maria Calivis, said ahead of the launch of a major UN appeal for Syrian refugees in Berlin later Thursday.

"By the end of 2015, the lives of over 8.6 million children across the region will have been torn apart by violence and forced displacement," she said.

Calivis said the agency's plans for next year include doubling both the number of Syrian children with access to safe water and sanitation, and the number with access to education.

The UN children's agency will continue vaccination campaigns against polio, she said, and deliver care including cash grants and winter clothing to the families of some 850,000 children affected by the conflict.

"These commitments -- costed at $903 million (732 million euros) -- represent the bare minimum," she said, calling on supporters "to help us make these commitments a reality".

Syria's conflict, which evolved from mass demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad's regime to a civil war that has left more than 200,000 dead, has forced more than half the population to flee their homes.

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