A newly-released United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report estimates that 4.3 million children are in need of aid inside Syria and that there are 1.2 million child refugees.
Fifty-six percent of all Syrian children require humanitarian assistance, according to UNICEF’s findings. The number in need, 5.5 million children, has more than doubled in just one year.
Ali, a 12-year-old who lives in a camp in Jordan, explained: “We used to study in a government school in Syria but we were forced to flee from there. We don’t have a real school here and we want to have a proper education like we used to have in Syria.”
Dina, a Syrian refugee and mother, said she would have feared for her children’s lives if she had stayed in her country. “I was afraid they might get sick and I wouldn’t be able to find medicine or a doctor”, she said.
According to UN figures, at least 10,000 children have been killed during Syria’s civil war.
Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes, explains that even those children out of direct danger are suffering the effects of war.
“The psychological impact of the violence in this conflict on children is leading to have them grow up much faster than they should, which is why we’re really emphasising the importance of a focus on education,” Chaiban said.
An estimated 40 percent of the country’s children are not attending school. Boys as young as 12 are reportedly being recruited to fight.
UNICEF’s report states that it has only been able to raise eight percent of the funding it needs to fulfill its plans to address the Syria crisis.