Children and youth on the hunger crisis
Children and young people share their priorities on tackling the hunger crisis in East Africa during Joining Forces Alliance EHF session.
Please find below an overview with updates from Plan International EU.
© Plan International, 2023, Syria. All rights reserved.
Two earthquakes struck northern Syria and south-eastern Türkiye on 6 February 2023, causing the deaths and injury of thousands of people, and leaving widespread scenes of devastation.
Plan International is working with its partner Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) in northern Syria to meet the immediate needs of children and families, who urgently need food, water, blankets and sleeping bags. Plan International is also working alongside its partners to assess the needs of children, especially children who have been orphaned by the disaster, and those separated from their families.
“The situation is dire on the ground,” said Safir Salim, Field Coordinator at MECC in Aleppo. “All children, including mine, are traumatised, their fear level is up to 10 times, there is no kind of psychosocial support for them now. Six hundred schools have been stopped and damaged. Children are out of school, and out of their homes thus no sense of normalcy.”
“In the aftermath of a disaster of this scale, looking after the emotional well-being of children should be a top priority,” said Plan International Global Humanitarian Director, Dr Unni Krishnan.
“Tens of thousands of children have suffered unthinkable losses and stress. Not only are they living through a war, now they are suffering the trauma of a disaster and of losing their parents. They are cold, hungry, exhausted and terrified. They need to be kept safe at all costs, and given access to mental health and psychosocial support.”
Children without parental care will suffer enormous stress from being apart from their close relatives, said Krishnan, and are more vulnerable to violence, abuse and neglect. Without an adult to take care of them, children may also be more exposed to trafficking or other forms of exploitation, he added.
“Children do not only need food, clean water and a safe place to stay, they also need emotional care,” he said. “It is critical to offer children an opportunity to play, re-connect with friends and access information. Safe spaces that offer recreational, social and learning activities can help bring back these routines. As a humanitarian organisation, we are absolutely committed to bringing the voices of children and girls to our response efforts in Syria,” said Krishnan.
With schools closed, providing shelter to those who have lost their homes, children are left without their usual support frameworks. Our experience shows that children, especially girls, women and the poorest families, are most at risk of exploitation in a disaster like an earthquake.
The Plan International EU Office remains available to work with EU institutions to upscale the response in Syria and support everyone affected by the devastating earthquakes, especially children and young people.
Donate to the Plan International Syria Earthquake Appeal.
Solidarity with children and families in Syria and Türkiye (Plan International, 7 February 2023).
10 ways to respond after an earthquake (Plan International, 9 February 2023).