Syria crisis: Children bearing brunt of conflict, says UNICEF

Sunday, August 05, 2012
New York: As violence engulfs many parts of Syria, UNICEF is alarmed that children continue to bear the greatest brunt of the tragedy.

UNICEF is working with its partners to deliver urgently needed assistance to hundreds of thousands of children and families who have fled their homes to escape the fighting and bearing the brunt of the conflict. Families sheltering in schools, mosques and other public buildings in Damascus and beyond are receiving hygiene kits, mattresses, blankets, as well as food and other items for their children. During the month of July, despite deteriorating security conditions and limited access in many areas, UNICEF and its partners were able to expand these and similar activities to reach around 94,000 people, the vast majority of them (around 90 per cent) children and adolescents.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake says the most urgent priority is to protect children and their families. 

“As the eyes of the world focus on the mounting violence in Syria, we must not overlook the fact that while children are not responsible for this tragedy, they’re paying a terrible price,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Children are losing their lives, losing their homes, losing their parents and losing their schooling. UNICEF supports people of conscience everywhere calling on all parties to do everything in their power to protect the innocents.”

The deteriorating situation is driving civilians to flee Syria to neighbouring countries in ever increasing numbers. To date, more than 130,000 Syrian refugees – around half of them children and adolescents -- have been registered in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. UNICEF is joining with other humanitarian agencies to provide them with a range of essential services, including water, sanitation, education and psychosocial support.
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