Winter supplies and cash assistance do not lead to sustainable development

In 2005-2007 UNICEF ALGERIA has set up a magnificent project in S. W. Algeria: “Family gardens in the Saharawis refugee camps”.  In 2 years time more than 2000 kitchen gardens have been offered to the refugees.

Any reason why such a nice initiative can’t be repeated in other countries ?  Winter supplies and cash assistance isn’t changing a bit at the causes of the problems.  This is NOT sustainable development !

(Willem Van Cotthem – University of Ghent – Belgium)

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Photo credit: UN News Centre

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Syria: UNICEF plans to reach 2.6 million children with winter supplies and cash assistance

Warning of harsh winter conditions looming closer for more than eight million Syrian children living inside the war-ravaged country or as refugees around the region and beyond, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced a package of assistance for 2.6 million Syrian children, including cash assistance, in addition to ongoing humanitarian programmes.

“These months are particularly brutal for children. They are at higher risk of developing respiratory infections in the cold weather, and – tragically — they are also in danger when families burn plastic or other toxic materials inside their shelters to keep warm,” said , UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Peter Salama in a news release.

According to UNICEF, early weather reports indicate that this winter could be harsher than last year’s with temperatures in some mountainous areas dropping as low as minus 13°C during the coldest days of December and January, along with possible storms and heavy snowfall which could cause hardship for families who are struggling to survive even in normal conditions.

The Syrian crisis has displaced more than three million children inside the country, sometimes multiple times and in neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt more than 2, 2 million children are now living as refugees, UNICEF said.

The UN agency said that many families’ financial resources are exhausted after five years of continued crises, making purchases of even essentials like warm coats and scarves impossible.

The package of assistance to be provided by UNICEF will support 2.6 million Syrian children living inside the country and across the region, with the focus mainly on children who have been hit the hardest, including the internally displaced and those living in hard-to-reach areas or in informal tented settlements.

According to UNICEF, work is underway in Syria to provide up to one million children with winter support, including the distribution of locally procured clothing kits, blankets and school heaters in addition to the distribution of cash vouchers – allowing families to buy their own winter needs.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

 

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.