© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0492/Lyon

On 30 June, Siham holds her young niece in the house where they now live in Amman, the capital. To escape shelling near their home, the girl’s family had attempted to flee Syria by automobile, but when they reached the main road, a sniper fatally shot her father, the driver. A tank then fired at the car, killing her mother, a brother and an uncle. Siham, her niece and her three surviving siblings, and Siham’s sister-in-law and her two children later fled to Jordan, where they share their current home with dozens of other child and women Syrian refugees. “God saved these children for me,” Siham said. “They are more important to me than my eyes. I hope I will be able to bring them up as best I can. I hope to God they will grow up, and I hope to see them with a certificate in their hand, at the very least. That is my only prayer to God.” She and her sister-in-law hope to send the children to school at the start of the next term.

By late June 2013 in Jordan, over 491,700 Syrian refugees had registered or were awaiting registration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Syrians have also fled to nearby Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey, and as far away as Egypt, bringing the total number to over 1.7 million, more than 869,600 of them children. Inside Syria, some 6.8 million people, including over 3.12 million children, had been affected by the country’s escalating war. UNICEF-supported initiatives in Jordan include the vaccination of 507,448 Syrian, Jordanian and other children aged 6 months to 15 years against measles – and the administration of vitamin A supplementation, which boosts immunity, to 207,084 children aged 6 to 59 months – during the first two weeks of a campaign launched on 8 June in Irbid and Mafraq Governorates. Since the beginning of the year, a total of 55,235 children in refugee camps and host communities have benefitted from psychosocial activities in child/adolescent-friendly spaces. Initiatives in education include remedial classes for children whose schooling has been interrupted by the conflict. UNICEF-supported programmes in nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene are also ongoing. To cover emergency responses within Syria and all host countries, UNICEF has appealed for over US$470 million, of which nearly 43 per cent has been funded to date.

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