Among hardest hit are 1 million children under siege and in hard to
TORONTO, March 11, 2014 /CNW/ - As the conflict in Syria approaches another sombre milestone, more than
twice as many children are now affected compared to 12 months ago, says
a new report by UNICEF published today. Particularly hard hit are up to
a million children who are trapped in areas of Syria that are under
siege or that are hard to reach with humanitarian assistance due to
Under Siege - the devastating impact on children of three years of
conflict in Syria focuses on the immense damage caused to the 5.5 million children now
affected by the conflict and calls for an immediate end to the violence
and increased support for those affected.
The report includes the accounts of children whose lives have been
devastated by the three year old war, and highlights the profound
traumas many have experienced. Children such as four-year old Adnan,
who fled with his family to Lebanon, suffered facial scarring when his
home was bombed and still suffers from emotional distress. "He cries
all night," his mother is quoted as saying. "He is scared of everything
and is afraid when we leave him, even for a second."
UNICEF estimates that there are 2 million children like Adnan in need of
psychological support or treatment.
"For Syria's children, the past three years have been the longest of
their lives. Must they endure another year of suffering?" said UNICEF
Executive Director Anthony Lake.
The report warns that the future of 5.5 million children inside Syria and living as refugees in
neighbouring countries hangs in the balance as violence, the collapse of health and education services, severe
psychological distress and the worsening economic impact on families
combine to devastate a generation.
The report draws attention to the suffering experienced by children and
their families who have been trapped in areas under siege for many
months. Cut off from aid, living in rubble and struggling to find food,
many Syrian children have been left without protection, medical care or
psychological support, and have little or no access to education. In
the very worst cases children and pregnant women have been deliberately
wounded or killed by snipers.
In host countries, 1.2 million Syrian children are now refugees living
in camps and overwhelmed host communities, and have limited access to
clean water, nutritious food or learning opportunities.
The report says that three years on, Syrian children have been forced to
grow up faster than any child should. UNICEF estimates that 1 in 10
refugee children is now working and 1 in every 5 Syrian girls in Jordan
is forced into early marriage.
As a supporter of UNICEF and partners' No Lost Generation campaign and
having taken a strong stand at the Geneva II peace talks, UNICEF urges
the Government of Canada to continue to speak up for the millions of
Syrian children whose lives have been torn apart from conflict to
prevent losing an entire generation.
Today's report urgently recommends the global community, including the
Government of Canada, undertake six critical steps to:
End the cycle of violence in Syria now
Grant immediate access to the under-reached 1 million children inside
Create an environment where children are protected from exploitation and
Invest in children's education
Help children's inner healing through psychological care and support and
Provide support to host communities and governments to mitigate the
social and economic impact of the conflict on families.
"This war has to end so that children can return to their homes to
rebuild their lives in safety with their family and friends. This third
devastating year for Syrian children must be the last," said Lake.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian
organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families,
doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children
with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food
security, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children
regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are
active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our
determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too
far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF,
please visit www.unicef.ca.
SOURCE: UNICEF Canada
For further information:
For further information or interviews, please contact:
Melanie Sharpe, UNICEF Canada
+1 416 482-6552 ext 8892