Two months after two decimating quakes hit Türkiye and northern Syria, 2.5 million kids in Türkiye stay needing helpful help and are in danger of falling into destitution, youngster work or kid marriage, UNICEF cautioned today.
According to UNICEF Representative Regina De Dominicis in Türkiye, “Children had their lives turned upside down by the earthquakes, and while the humanitarian response was swift and significant, the reality is that the immediate futures of millions of children remain uncertain, with families’ ability to begin picking up the pieces of their lives severely hampered.” As a crucial part of the recovery, more support is necessary to ensure that children are protected and that their needs are met.
Families need long-term support to recover and begin rebuilding their lives, and the Turkish government and humanitarian partners continue to work to meet the most pressing requirements and provide basic services. To ensure that the disaster does not have an effect on children for many years or even decades to come, recovery efforts must place them at the forefront.
More than 149,000 children and caregivers have received psychosocial support from UNICEF as part of the immediate response, which has collaborated closely with partners to support reunification and prevent family separation. Child protection services must continue uninterrupted and these efforts must continue.
The Ministry of Health is receiving vaccines from UNICEF, including polio vaccines (for 360,000 children) and diphtheria and tetanus vaccines (for more than 283,000 children). Additionally, UNICEF is providing additional medical supplies and equipment.
Over 390,000 people have received winter clothing, blankets, electrical heaters, and hygiene kits. While damaged water networks are being fixed, access to clean, safe water remains a major concern. Thousands of people have received water from UNICEF, and the organization is quickly expanding this partnership.
In addition, UNICEF has established 37 hubs in ten provinces to provide psychosocial support, catch-up classes, assistance with homework, and protection services to children, adolescents, and their families. These hubs have reached nearly 26,000 children and caregivers to date. In these hubs, around 5,000 youth volunteers from the Ministry of Youth and Sports who have been trained by UNICEF will help provide life skills activities and support for adolescent engagement and participation.
Nearly four million school-age children, including 350,000 refugee and migrant children, were affected by the earthquakes. In earthquake-affected areas, nearly 1.5 million children have resumed their education, and another 250,000 children have relocated elsewhere in the country to continue their education. However, despite the reopening of formal education in the most affected provinces, many others have not yet regained full access to education.
More than 300,000 children will benefit from UNICEF’s financial assistance for the repair of more than 1,170 schools. Additionally, UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of National Education with temporary measures, including more than 400 tents for learning, which include catch-up classes and exam preparation and serve approximately 23,000 children per day, as well as prefabricated classrooms or administrator rooms. In order to identify children who require psychosocial support, training is being provided to one thousand school counselors and teachers.
In order to keep working with children who have been affected by the earthquakes, UNICEF in Türkiye is asking for an additional $138 million. It also asks donors to make sure that this money is given out quickly and in a flexible way so that UNICEF and its partners can respond to changing needs quickly and consistently.
Recognizing that children are among the most vulnerable, UNICEF is also urging the international community to ensure that children’s needs are given top priority when funding is allocated to support child-centered response and recovery.