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Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher donate to help Syrian children

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Donate now to help us provide food, water, medicine and education to Syrian children.

Today Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher have made a $1 million donation split equally between Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee to support victims of the conflict in Syria.

500,000 Dollars will be used to fund a programme vaccinating more than 250,000 children against a potential measles outbreak in Northern Syria. The other half of the donation will be used to help fund the work to support families, with a special concern for women and children, both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries who are suffering as a result of the ongoing conflict. The money will go towards education, health care, shelter and sanitation.

There are currently four million refugees in neighbouring states and over seven million displaced inside Syria. It has been estimated that around 12,000 children have been killed in the conflict and the real number may be much higher. Some sources have indicated that thousands of children have been killed by barrel bombs alone.

Justin Forsyth, Save the Children CEO, said: “The Syrian conflict is now approaching its fifth year and children are the first victims. There is no safe place left in Syria, with shelling and violence omnipresent. Food and medicines have become scarce and basic necessities unaffordable. Syria’s health system has collapsed and deadly childhood diseases – like measles - which had previously been all but eradicated have now returned, threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. By allowing us to make their generous donation to Syrian children public, Sacha and Isla are helping highlight the tragedy of the issue today. These are desperate times for Syrian families facing bombs, bullets and torture in Syria. The couple’s donation will save many thousands of lives and protect some of the most vulnerable children.”

David Miliband, president and CEO of the international rescue committee (IRC) said: "Now is the time for all of us to double down on commitments to civilians caught up in the Syria conflict. These people are the victims of terror. As hope for the end of conflict recedes, it is all the more important to meet the most basic human needs. Sacha and Isla's donation is a great expression of humanity, and a challenge to do more for the most vulnerable. I hope it is an example to many others seeking practical ways of making a difference during the Christmas and New Year season."

Syria’s children urgently need your help. Please donate to Save the Children now via phone: 0800 8148 148 or online at www.savethechildren.org.uk/syria. Please donate to the International Rescue Committee at www.rescue-UK.org or rescue.org


Notes to Editors:

Save the Children’s work in Syria and beyond:

Save the Children is working in Syria providing lifesaving health care to children and mothers, running schools and providing food, shelter and clean water. It is also working in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey supporting Syrian children to go to school and protecting them from violence. And it is helping children along the whole refugee migration route across Europe.

‘The Save the Children Fund is a charity registered in England and Wales (213890) and Scotland (SC039570)’.

IRC's work in Syria and beyond:

IRC staff are working inside Syria and in all the neighboring states providing healthcare, education, protection for women and children, and support for economic livelihoods. The IRC also has teams in Greece and Syria working with refugees arriving in Europe, and run extensive refugee resettlement in the United States.

Children affected:

7.6 million4 children have been affected by the conflict and according to UNICEF more than 5.6 million5 children remain trapped inside Syria facing dire situations of displacement, poverty and crossfire

There are now over 4 million Syrian refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries, of which 51% (2.089m) are children, according to the UNHCR1. Over 12,000 children have been killed and thousands of others have been wounded.

Vaccination statistics for Syrian children:

In 2014, 54% of children under-5 received 1 dose of the measles vaccine and 49% received 2 doses (source: WHO)2.

The World Health Organization recommends that children should be administered with 2 doses of the measles vaccine. One dose of the measles vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus, while two doses are about 97% effective.

Measles can lead to pneumonia, diarrhea, blindness and death and in humanitarian crises, like Syria, up to 20-30% of children who contract measles will die3

1 http://www.unocha.org/syrian-arab-republic/syria-country-profile/about-c...

2 Measles Vaccination Coverage, WHO and UNICEF estimates as of 2014 http://apps.who.int/immunization_monitoring/globalsummary/estimates?c=SYR 3 Wolfson et al. Estimates of measles case fatality ratios: a comprehensive review of community based studies. Int. J. Epidemiol. (2009) 38 (1): 192-205. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyn224 4http://www.unicef.org.uk/Media-centre/Press-releases/Safer-learning-for-... 5 http://www.unicef.ca/en/press-release/14-million-children-impacted-by-co...