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'Tragedy of Wala'a will repeat' if the crisis does not end

The story of three-month-old Wala'a, who has been left malnourished after her family struggled to find food in a besieged area of Damascus in not an isolated case according to UNICEF.

Read more: Starving girl footage reveals horrors of Syrian conflict

Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa told ITV News:

"It's a tragedy and any one child reduced to this condition, its both a tradegy and a failure of our system.

"Any case like that of little Wala'a is no doubt a tradedy, a tragedy for the family and a tragedy that can repeat itself over and over again, if the crisis does not end."

Speaking of the siege in Homs, she added: "The first tragedy that all families speak about is about the loss, the insecurity of food, the access to food and to survive they often had to go to their neighbour, their neighbours and neighbours that had fled in order to search for food.

"And sometimes even when that was not enough, they resorted to plants, to feeding themselves in whatever way they possible."

David Beckham visits typhoon-devastated Philippines

David Beckham has visited the Philippines as part of Unicef's relief efforts in the devastated country.

The former England captain was welcomed by hundreds of Typhoon victims in the central city of Tacloban who have been living in United Nations tents outside a sports stadium.

David Beckham greets victims of Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city in central Philippines. Credit: Reuters

The 38-year-old exchanged high-fives and posed for pictures with children.

Tacloban is still struggling to recover from the impact of Typhoon Haiyan which struck last November killing 6,200 people and displacing thousands more.

Former England captain David Beckham arrives at an evacuation centre to visit typhoon victims. Credit: Reuters

Zafrin Chowdhury, a spokeswoman for the Unicef office in Manila, said Beckham was touched by the typhoon's impact and wanted to meet displaced children and their families.

Beckham and his wife Victoria have previously donated some of their designer clothes and shoes to raise funds for the victims of the disaster.

Read: We all fell silent when we saw the dreadful devastation

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Govt to match donations to UNICEF's Syria appeal

International Development Secretary Justine Greening has told ITV News the government will match donations made to UNICEF's Syrian appeal for a three month period.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening speaking to ITV News. Credit: ITV News

The charity are raising aid to assist children caught up in the crisis and they estimate that four million youngsters are in urgent need of help.

Ms Greening told ITV News: "UNICEF has played a leading role in trying to provide support to the millions of children who've been affected by this crisis.

"We haven't just seen lives lost during the Syrian crisis so far, we've seen childhoods lost as well.

"So, we want to back the British people's generosity pound-for-pound in their support for this UNICEF appeal and it will not just go towards helping children stay healthy and stay safe today, it will also go into education so it will help build their futures tomorrow."

Click here to donate to UNICEF's Syria children's appeal

Emma Bunton joins campaign to eliminate tetanus

The singer Emma Bunton is spearheading a new campaign to make sure families are protected against a deadly strain of tetanus.

It is estimated that at least 100 million mothers and children living in the world's poorest countries are vulnerable to Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus, or MNT.

Read more on the Unicef website

Emma Bunton explained more to ITV News presenter James Mates:

'Unconditional access to Syria needed to end crisis'

As the UN has called for immediate access to Syria to address the humanitarian issue, Unicef has said that full unconditional humanitarian access in Syria is needed as there are children trapped in conflict zones, desperate for aid, who they are unable to reach.

Unicef is one of very few organisations working inside Syria and has committed to stay and help children however possible. Some of the issues facing those still in Syria include:

  • Availability of water has decreased by a third inside Syria compared to pre-crisis levels
  • Up to 60% of public hospitals have limited or no capacity and around 80% of the nation’s ambulances have been destroyed
  • More than 4 million Syrian children are now in urgent need of humanitarian aid, including more than 1 million children who have fled Syria as refugees
  • Treatment of sewage has declined dramatically

Read more: UN calls for immediate humanitarian aid in Syria

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UNICEF: 'There is still time to avert a catastrophe'

Martin Dawes, Regional Spokesperson UNICEF West and central Africa said: "There is still time to avert a catastrophe amongst children inthe Sahel region of West Africa.

Nineteen-month-old Raya Kabirou, who is severely malnourished, sits in her grandmother’s lap, at the UNICEF-supported Mirriah District Hospital.
Nineteen-month-old Raya Kabirou, who is severely malnourished, sits in her grandmother’s lap. Credit: UNICEF

"1.1 million children over the course of this year will need life saving intervention because of severe acute malnutrition. This is a crisis with multiple causes where adults will suffer but children will die.

A baby girl is weighed in a sling scale at the Bilmari health centre in the town of Mirriah.
A baby girl is weighed in a sling scale at the Bilmari health centre in the town of Mirriah. Credit: UNICEF

"5,200 nutrition treatment centres have been set up in nine countries but the next two month will be extremely hard for children and their mothers. Most at risk are those who become malnourished and fall prey to conditions such as malaria and diarrhoea."

For more on the West Africa food crisis visit the UNICEF website.

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