CHILD TRAGEDY IN SYRIA - UNICEF warns children deprived of food, education, play
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/12/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
According to UNICEF, 5.5 million children in Syria and in refugee camps across the border are in dire need of care because of trauma and food insecurity, among other problems. Over 10,000 children have been killed by conflict and actual numbers are thought to be much higher.
Children do not deserve to grow in conditions such as these because adults cannot get along.
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL (Catholic Online) - In neighboring countries like Jordan, millions of Syrian children have escaped the threat of imminent death by rifle and bomb, but they face new challenges almost as daunting. And for children in Syria, starvation stalks them as fighting rages and cuts off supplies of food and medicine.
The last and third year of the civil war in Syria has been the worst by far, with a threefold increase in the number of children displaced and disrupted by conflict. Millions of children have lost access to education and many more are being deprived of the basic pleasures and experiences of childhood, forced to grow in the confinement of refugee camps or in the ruins of devastated cities and villages.
UNICEF has reported that 5.5 million children have lost life and limbs as well as "virtually every other aspect of childhood." More than a million of those children are out of the organization's reach, living in besieged areas or areas so dangerous that aid workers cannot travel there.
Children are suffering not only with inadequate nutrition, but also with inadequate clothing and medicine for illness.
As serious as these problems are however, nothing may be more unsettling that the reality that these children are simply missing out on their childhood. There isn't a lot of room for play in refugee camps or among sniper-watched piles of rubble. Toys are a low priority in a refugee situation.
These things matter because play is an important aspect of child development. It's natural behavior and along with the loss of education, nutrition, and medicine, there is an entire generation of children whose entire lives will be stunted in some way.
UNICEF estimates that at least half of these children, two million, need professional psychological attention for trauma -attention which is not forthcoming.
They also warn they expect the situation to worsen.
From these ruins and camps will come an undereducated population of children who will be more susceptible to poverty and extremism. Some may grow to join terror organizations. Many will grow with trauma and this will affect how they raise their children years from now.
UNICEF says it only has about 8 percent of the money it needs to carry out its duties in the region which means that millions of people, especially the three million estimated children, displaced in Syria, will remain without proper care and attention.
The only meaningful solution is for the war to end immediately, permitting families to return to their homes and for children to resume what is left to them. However, this is very unlikely. Despite peace talks, no progress has been made. Worse, the rebels in Syria have become so factionalized, it is unlikely that they themselves will agree with what to do with Syria, once they have either defeated or made peace with Assad's regime.
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Support for Persecuted Christians. That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church.
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