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UNICEF calls for saving lives of children in Rukban on Jordan-Syria border

By JT - Oct 10,2018 - Last updated at Oct 10,2018

Geert Cappelaere

AMMAN — UNICEF has called for providing immediate sophisticated healthcare services to refugees at the Rukban Syrian camp near the Syrian-Jordanian border.

In a statement to The Jordan Times, UNICEF said that the situation for the estimated 45,000 people, among them many children, will further worsen with the cold winter months fast approaching.

“In the past 48 hours, two more children, a five-day old boy and a four-month old girl have died in Rukban, near Jordan’s north eastern border with Syria, without access to a hospital,” UNICEF Regional Director for MENA Geert Cappelaere was quoted in a UNICEF statement as saying.

“While the UN-supported clinic near the border inside Jordan continues providing basic health services for urgent lifesaving cases, more sophisticated healthcare is required. This is only available in hospitals,” he continued, noting that the situation for the estimated 45,000 people — among them many children — will further worsen with the cold winter months fast approaching, especially when temperatures dip below freezing point in the harsh desert conditions. 

“The two children in Rukban are among many, many children in Syria and the region who died in a conflict that they have absolutely no responsibility for. Their lives have been cut short, their families forever broken in grief,” Cappelaere said.

 “Once again, UNICEF appeals to all parties to the conflict in Syria and those who have influence over them, to allow and facilitate access to basic services including health for children and families. This is the very minimum for human dignity,” the regional director underscored.

Jordan has allowed the entry of humanitarian aid to the Rukban camp for a single time to the displaced Syrians after the UN presented a plan in which it pledged to deliver future assistance to the camp from Syria.

The international organisation resorted to Jordan as Damascus had failed to respond to a request to grant access to the area. 

Jordan declared the northern and northeastern border areas closed military zones in June 2016, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack that targeted a military post serving refugees near the border, killing seven security forces and injuring 13 others.

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