United Nations, Feb 10 : The UN has sought full and regular access to the almost 62,000 people in the al-Hol refugee camp in northeast Syria, the world body’s humanitarian agency has confirmed.
Such access is necessary so all residents, 93 per cent being women and children, continue to receive essential assistance, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement on Tuesday.
A recent hike in violence underscores that the camp, the largest for refugees and internally displaced people in Syria, is “no place for any child to grow up”, Xinhua news agency quoted.
There are more than 31,000 children under the age of 12 in the camp, which is currently hosting over 56,000 people well beyond its capacity.
The world organisation and its humanitarian partners continue to provide comprehensive and life-saving assistance, including through food, clean drinking water, health facilities, shelter, and a range of other services, including sanitation, nutrition, education and protection, the OCHA statement said.
“To help protect families against cold winter temperatures, close to 4,000 tents have been replaced, and essential items distributed, including heating fuel, blankets and winter clothes.
“But even with this assistance, humanitarian conditions at al-Hol undoubtedly remain challenging,” the Office further said.
Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, was asked at his regular press briefing on Tuesday about the children’s possible radicalization.
“What does it mean for 31,000 children to live not only in horrendous conditions, without education, without access to proper healthcare, what is their future? Where are they going to be? These are problems that need to be dealt with immediately, because if you leave a 5- or a 10- or a 12-year-old in these conditions for too long, you’ve ruined their future in a certain extent.”
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