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‘Polio may spread from Syria’ Kuwait aid timely: UN official

AMMAN, Jan 12, (KUNA): A UNICEF official expressed concern polio in Syria might spread due to medics’ inability to reach hot spots on territories of this embattled nation. Maria Calivis, the UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, in an interview with KUNA, expressed concern the disease that broke out in October, last year, in Syria, might spill over to neighboring countries. She called for monthly vaccination campaigns against polio in Syria, and every three months in the neighboring countries. Families and parents must be educated about necessity of vaccinating the children more than once, Calivis said. Calivis praised Kuwait’s generous aid to the organization for aiding the Syrian children, particularly the Gulf State donation of $55 million, noting that the Kuwaiti support came at the right time, “helped us prepare and plan for the winter sufficiently ahead of time.

Moreover, it helped in securing clean water and vaccinations and power generators in Syria,” She also mentioned that the Kuwaiti financial assistance facilitated securing water and other necessities for the refugees outside Syria. Up to 250,000 Syrian children in Syria and 270,000 others outside the country benefited from the Kuwaiti aid, she said, indicating that with the Kuwaiti money, blankets and clothes were secured for one million persons in Syria and 60,000 outside it. Up to 9.6 million Syrians inside the country and 2.2 refugees have been affected with the ongoing crisis, Calivis said. Half of these figures are children aged below 18, “and this what has prompted us to brand this crisis the crisis of children,” she said. Number of the Syrian refugees is expected to soar to 3.5 million this year, the UNICEF official warned, noting the organization keenness on securing education for them.

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