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Author Archives: Cathy Raines, UNICEF USA

A New Threat in Syria: Winter

At the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, where thousands of Syrian refugees are sheltering, the heat of summer has given way to wind, rain and mud. Once winter fully takes hold, temperatures will drop to zero and below. ©UNICEF/Jordan-2012/Salah Malkawi

— Freezing nights in winter are common in the U.S. That’s not a surprise. It turns out winter nights are also freezing in Syria. The days are often wet or snowy there and in other parts of the Middle East, where more than one million children are affected by Syria’s fighting. Now, in addition to facing danger, these children need hats and gloves, blankets and winter clothing. They need warm places to sleep and access to clean water, health care, and cooking supplies. Respiratory infections and other winter illnesses are a particular worry, since many of these children are especially vulnerable to getting sick due to the stress they have endured.

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Raising Awareness about Proper Sanitation

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— It’s hard to imagine not having a toilet. But about 2.5 billion people around the world do not even have a basic pit latrine. And not having a toilet is a much bigger problem than just the lack of comfort and convenience. UNICEF estimates that 2 million children die every year from pneumonia and diarrhea—and these two illnesses can be largely prevented with safe drinking water and improved sanitation and hygiene. Without proper toilets, water and the environment become contaminated, and diseases like diarrhea spread more rapidly. Having a toilet, along with improving sanitation practices such as handwashing, can keep children alive.

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