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Mass Exodus as Syrian Children Run for Their Lives

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/25/13 -- In the last 24 hours an estimated 10,000 children and their families have fled Syria into Jordan.

As fighting intensified in Southern Syria almost 20,000 refugees arrived at the border. Nearly 3500 people made it to Zaatari refugee camp last night.

Up to four to five buses are arriving in the camp every hour - the majority crammed full of frightened and exhausted people who fled with what little they could carry.

Saba Al Mobaslat, Save the Children's Program Director in Zaatari camp, said:

"Many women and children are running for their lives, arriving with just the clothes on their backs. Many are unable to pack essential supplies and desperately need our help.

"It's freezing, wet and the camp is already over-crowded. Many children who are arriving are exhausted, shocked and terrified.

"Despite the best efforts of aid workers, the camp is reaching a breaking point and this is going to get so much worse in the next few days if numbers continue to rise at such an alarming rate."

Temperatures have already hit minus four degrees in the camp. Heavy rains are expected next week prompting concerns for the over 50,000 people already living in the Zaatari camp.

Save the Children, in partnership with UN agencies and Jordanian authorities, is working around the clock to help the refugees providing food, blankets and winter clothes. It is also providing emotional support for children who have suffered or witnessed brutal attacks within Syria.

Save the Children is bringing vital life-saving help to children in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. Across the region we have already reached nearly 130,000 people.

To donate to Save the Children's response in Syria please visit: www.savethechildren.ca/donatetosyria.

Interviews are available from Zaatari camp. Please call: 0207 012 6400 or out of hours on 07831 650 409.

Notes to editors

--  UNHCR estimates that 50,000 people live in Zaatari refugee camp 
--  Jordan's Foreign Minister said 20,000 people fled into Jordan over the
    last few days and Save the Children estimate that over 50% of them are
    children. 

About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organisation for children, delivering programmes and improving children's lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.

Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca.

Contacts:
Media Contact: Save the Children
Cicely McWilliam
Senior Advisor, Policy, Campaigns, Media
Toll Free: 1-800-668-5036 x300
(416) 218-1888 / Cell: (647) 291-1683
[email protected]

Save the Children
Bryna Jones, Manager, Communications
Toll Free: 1-800-668-5036 x222
(416) 221-5501 x222 / Cell: (647) 273-7134
[email protected]
www.savethechildren.ca

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