UNICEF Representative in Türkiye, Regina De Dominicis, said that while the humanitarian response to the disaster was swift, “immediate futures of millions of children remain uncertain”.
Urgent health and protection needs
To cover the most pressing needs, UNICEF has reached more than 390,000 people with hygiene kits, winter clothes, electrical heaters and blankets.
The UN agency has also delivered water to thousands while damaged supply networks are repaired.
On the health front, UNICEF has been supporting Türkiye’s authorities with the provision of vaccines including for polio, diphtheria and tetanus, as well as medical equipment and supplies.
As part of the emergency response, the agency has also been working with partners to assist with family reunification and has reached more than 149,000 children and caregivers with psychosocial support.
UNICEF stressed that “these efforts must continue and child protection services must be maintained without interruption”.
Education in jeopardy
According to UNICEF, the earthquakes impacted nearly four million schoolchildren in Türkiye. While nearly 1.5 million have resumed their education in affected areas, and another 250,000 have been able to continue their education after relocating elsewhere in the country, many others risk being left behind.
To ensure that learning can continue, UNICEF is financing the repair of more than 1,170 schools, which will benefit over 300,000 children, and supporting the Ministry of Education with temporary classrooms in prefabricated structures and tents.
The agency is also providing catch-up classes and help with homework in 37 hubs dedicated to child, adolescent and family support across 10 provinces.
Getting lives back on track
UNICEF in Türkiye is appealing for an additional $138 million to continue assisting children affected by the earthquakes and calling on the international community to ensure their needs are prioritized.
Over and above the emergency response, UNICEF reiterated that longer-term assistance to children and their families is urgently required, so that people can “recover and begin to rebuild their lives”.
“More support is vital to ensure children are protected and their needs are met as a central part of the recovery,” Ms. De Dominicis said, so that the disaster does not continue impacting their lives for decades to come.