UNICEF regional health advisor visits Syrian refugee camp

United Nations Children's Fund Regional Health Advisor Mahendra Sheth visited the Domiz refugee camp for Syrian refugees in Iraq on Wednesday.

The Domiz refugee camp is 60 kilometers from the Syrian border and although originally built to accommodate 22,000 people, it is home to roughly 40,000 refugees today. Sheth visited the camp to see what UNICEF could do to improve living conditions in the camp.

"Water, sanitation and hygiene facilities on the site are far from adequate, increasing the risk the camp could become fertile ground for the spread of disease," Sheth said.

To combat the risk of disease, UNICEF has increased its immunization program for the region. More than 19,000 refugees in Domiz alone have been vaccinated against the measles.

Since the crisis has no end in sight, however, Sheth predicts those fleeing Syria will be unimmunized and precautions must be taken to ensure the refugees to come also receive vaccinations.

"With more than 150,000 Syrian refugees seeking sanctuary in host communities and camps along the border, assistance by international agencies such as UNICEF is needed more than ever," Sheth said. "The current vaccination campaign is a good example of how UNICEF is stepping up its efforts to help."