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As Syria heats up, charities reach out to children

6:28 AM, Aug 27, 2013   |    comments
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As the possibility of a U.S. strike against Syria increased Monday night and Tuesday morning, charities were getting the word out about their efforts to help the estimated 1 million children who are refugees in the crisis.

And those charities were getting some support from users on Twitter, especially journalist Ann Curry, who used the social media service to let the public know that Save the Children, MercyCorps and UNICEF were reaching out specifically to children.

Early Tuesday, the Associated Press reported U.S. officials said there was little doubt Syria used chemical weapons, and calls mounted from Western powers for swift military action.

As the situation heated, Curry tweeted out photos of Syrian children and encouraged members of the public to donate or volunteer. She used the hashtag or search term #onemillion, for the number of children who are refugees from Syria. Others retweeted her tweets.

Save the Children's Internet home page featured a piece that says children are living in "desperate" conditions inside the Syrian crisis.

"More than 7,000 children are dead and 1 million have been exiled as a result of this war," Save the Children president and CEO Carolyn Miles said in a statement on the site.

Said Alexandra Chen, MercyCorps' regional child protection adviser for Syrian children in Jordan and Lebanon, in a statement on the charity's website, "The last days in Syria are perhaps the most difficult for refugees to talk about - both for the children and the parents. All of them have experienced loss and witnessed much violence and destruction. For many children, the sound of bombs and gunfire continues to haunt them, and almost many of the children have experienced death as well - many have seen dead people, either killed before them or bodies littering the street."

On the UNICEF homepage, a headline urged, "Help Syrian Children," and linked to a campaign for donors to help.

"Without further funding, children in Syria will miss critical immunizations," according to the UNICEF site. "Refugee children will face critical water shortages, lose health services and fall further behind in their educations."

To help child refugees from Syria, visit www.savethechildren.org, www.mercycoprs.org or www.unicef.org.

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