(Photo credit: UNICEF/Abdulaziz Al-Droubi)
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued a warning on 9 May, saying that six and a half million children are in dire need of humanitarian assistance in Syria after more than a decade of a US-backed war.
“More than 6.5 million children in Syria are in need of assistance, the highest number ever recorded since the crisis began more than 11 years ago,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF’s regional director for West Asia and North Africa.
Khodr explained that these children continue to live in “fear, need, and uncertainty” both inside Syria and in neighboring countries.
UNICEF data indicates that in the first three months of this year alone, 213 children were killed or injured. Since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, the number of child casualties has risen to 13,000 dead and injured.
As the conflict is far from over, the agency reiterated its call on all parties to the conflict and those with influence over them to seek a political solution for the sake of Syria’s children and for their future.
“In the absence of such a solution, the humanitarian response inside Syria and in neighboring countries must continue to be supported,” UNICEF added in a statement.
According to UN data, some 5.8 million Syrian children are dependent on assistance from the neighboring nations that host them.
“The lives of these children are plagued by poverty and pain,” the regional director said.
Khodr added that the needs of children inside Syria and in neighboring countries are growing and that many families struggle to make ends meet.
In addition, prices for basic supplies, including food, are soaring, partly as a result of the war in Ukraine.
Despite the large shortfalls and the urgency to meet them, funding for humanitarian operations is declining rapidly.
UNICEF reported receiving less than half the funds it requires to carry out its relief work this year.
It said it urgently needs nearly $20 million for cross-border operations, which provide the sole livelihood for nearly one million children in northwestern Syria.
The agency also said it was imperative to invest in restoring essential basic services, such as education, water and sanitation, health, nutrition and social protection.