HH SheikhaJawaher leads the biggest humanitarian appeal in human history, with $5 billion critically needed for over 1.6 million Syrians

UNHCR estimates that half of Syria’s population will depend on aid by year-end

UAE, Sharjah, X June 2013: The often-overlooked tragedy of Syrian refugees has been thrust back into the public eye on World Refugee Day on June 20.The crisis now has the unwanted distinction of being the biggest humanitarian appeal ever witnessed in human history, with US$5 billion required to give over 1.6 million Syrian refugees food, shelter, medical attention, education and other crucial necessities.

Spearheading this appeal is Her Highness SheikhaJawaherBint Mohammed Al Qasimi, the UNHCR’s Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children. Her Highness has launched the ‘Big Heart for Syrian refugee children’ campaign to bring life-saving and life-changing aid to displaced Syrians, with 3 out of every 4 refugees being women and children.

The crisis is literally worsening by the minute, with 7,000 new refugees per day braving fierce fighting and deadly minefields to cross into neighboring countries. This increases the strain on the already over-burdened resources of the host countries – particularly Lebanon, which is appealing for US$449 million to manage the crisis. Meanwhile Jordan estimates that it will need US$380 million to look after the refugees within its borders.

Adding another dimension of complexity to an already complicated situation is the fact that millions of Syrians are still trapped in the crossfire within their homeland, but humanitarian agencies face an uphill task in delivering aid amid the aerial bombardments, sporadic sniper fire and a collapsing transport infrastructure.

Noura Al Noman, Director of the Executive Office of Her Highness SheikhaJawaherBint Mohammed Al Qasimi, elaborated: “The ‘Big Heart for Syrian refugee children’ campaign is relying on the generosity of the UAE public, especially since the UAE has recently been ranked among the world’s most generous donors in terms of international aid. Every contribution and every day counts, as 7,000 new refugees are arriving daily with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and the hope in their hearts.”

According to Mohammed Abou Assaker, Communications Officer with the UNHCR, what makes it even worse for the refugees is that they see no end in sight to the conflict: “If anything, the situation seems to be deteriorating, and the outpouring of refugees shows no signs of dying down. According to our projections, by the end of the year we could be looking at 3.45 million Syrian refugees as well as 6.8 million Syrians displaced within the country’s borders. When half the country’s population is dependenton aid, it has a catastrophic effect that leaves social, cultural and economic scars for generations to come – not to mention the horrific psychological trauma we are seeing in refugee children.”

Whilethe UNHCR is committed to improving the lives of all 44 million refugees worldwide, the urgency of the Syrian situation has made it the immediate focus of the ‘Big Heart for Syrian refugee children’ campaign.

Those who wish to make a difference to the lives of Syrian refugees can assist by texting the word “donate” via these SMS Codes (Etisalat): 2000 (AED10), 2002 (AED50), 2003 (AED100); or through Salam YaSeghar “For Syrian Refugee Children”. Bank details: Account number: 0034 430430 012; IBAN: AE5804 100000 3443 04300 12. Contact: +9716594 1111,+9716594 1115, +9716594 1103.