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6.6 million Syrian children now in need of aid: UNICEF

Published on Jul 5, 2014 3:10 AM
Children eat food distributed to them in the besieged al-Yarmouk camp, south of Damascus, on April 7, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

GENEVA (AFP) - More than six million children affected by the Syria conflict desperately need humanitarian aid, the UN's children's agency said on Friday, with the number in need rising by a third in a year.

UNICEF is warning that despite the spiralling numbers the organisation may have to consider cutting some vital services because of a lack of funding. Some 6.6 million children now need help in the region, the agency says, a figure that has gone up by a third, or about two million, since June 2013.

"That's an astonishing number and it's one that is rising very, very fast," UNICEF spokesman Simon Ingram told reporters in Geneva. The organisation has so far only received 37 percent of the US$770 million it needs to cover its services until the end of the year for Syrian children both inside the country and living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

"There is actually a very real risk that as a result of this funding crisis and unless the money does come in we will be forced to discontinue some of the critical services that we are providing," Mr Ingram said.

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