Families fleeing conflict in Syria have been shot at, separated from each other and have had to deal with freezing temperatures as they try to cross the border into neighbouring Lebanon, reported Save the Children today.
Save the Children is working on the Syrian border in Lebanon, distributing food, soap, towels and buckets; running safe places for children to play; and helping children who have been through extremely distressing experiences. It is preparing to do the same in Jordan.
Thousands of people are reported to have left their homes in Syria in recent days and Save the Children has been preparing to receive them in Lebanon. However, relatively few have arrived in the country so far - prompting concerns for their safety.
Sanna Johnson, Save the Children's Middle East Director said: "We haven't yet seen the numbers of refugees crossing from Syria that we were expecting, despite reports that thousands have left their homes. We know that displaced children will be terrified, cold, hungry and exhausted: it is essential that these children receive help as soon as possible. If they cannot reach us in Lebanon, we hope to be allowed into Syria to reach them."
As a non-political and non-partisan organisation, Save the Children is committed to ensuring that all parties to the conflict prioritise the protection of children. It is monitoring the situation closely and remains extremely concerned for the welfare of children affected by the crisis. Save the Children will continue to support children and families as they reach the Lebanon and Jordan boarders as it calls for unfettered humanitarian access for neutral agencies into Syria.
The UN estimates that over 7,000 people have died as a result of the conflict. It is thought that hundreds of those killed were children.