UNICEF Ambassador, Pau Gasol Visits Iraq

Pau Gasol visits Syrian refugees in Dohuk Pau Gasol visits Syrian refugees in Dohuk

In Dohuk, UNICEF Spanish Committee Ambassador and two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol returned from a visit to Syrian refugees.

“I met children who have fled from a tragic situation in Syria and now depend on urgent humanitarian aid to save their lives and give them an opportunity to build a new life,” Gasol stated.


To date, more than 1.8 million people -- of which around 50 per cent are children -- have fled the war in Syria into neighboring countries, including nearly 160,000 into Iraq.


While in Dohuk, Pau met a many children, including a 10-year-old boy who remarked “In Syria, our shop was destroyed. I want the war to end there so that I can return home and my brothers and sisters and I can go back to school.”


Pau noted his shock to witness the hundreds of thousands of children affected by the conflict in Syria. “No child should experience such violence and destruction and be deprived of the basic services that they need to grow and develop to fulfill their potential” he noted.


The UNICEF Ambassador visited several UNICEF programs including programs to provide safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities, primary education, health care, and child protection services.


To date inside Syria and in neighboring countries hosting Syrian refugees, UNICEF has provided more than 10 million people access to clean, safe water,  over 2.4 million children with critical vaccinations and 268,000 with access to education, among a myriad of other services.


“Providing these services is a huge job,” Gasol remarked. “While we can see some good results, the needs are enormous. So much more help is needed.”


The humanitarian crisis related to the Syria conflict is unprecedented. The UN has made its largest humanitarian appeal and has pleaded with the international community to find an immediate end to this humanitarian catastrophe.


The continually increasing needs of refugee children have stressed UN resources to the brink.


UNICEF needs another €159 million to continue to provide essential services to Syrian children to mitigate and hopefully recover from the brutal conflict and displacement they have encountered in their short lives.

Last modified on Monday, 05 August 2013 12:08

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