How to Help Syria and its Children

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Children in Syria need your help urgently. Send them food, water and health care now.

The situation for children in Syria is dire. The brutal civil war that began in 2011 has had a devastating effect on the beleaguered nation's children. Born in one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child, millions of Syrian children have grown up facing the daily threat of violence.

“Children are dying before our eyes,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore. “This can be stopped. It needs to stop now.”

Violence has ripped apart places that should be safe: schools, hospitals, playgrounds, parks and children's own homes, exposing children to both natural and man-made lethal threats.

“Freezing temperatures and harsh living conditions in Rukban, at the southwestern border of Syria with Jordan, are increasingly putting children’s lives at risk. In just one month, at least eight children - most of them under four months and the youngest only one hour old - have died," said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa in mid January.

In Rukban, 80 percent of the population are women and children struggling to survive the extreme cold, with the lack of medical care a particular danger for pregnant women and new mothers and infants. Meanwhile, in the east, heavy violence in the Hajin area of Deir-Ez-Zor has displaced an estimated 10,000 people since December.

"Families seeking safety face difficulties leaving the conflict zone and wait in the cold for days without shelter or basic supplies," Cappelaere continued. "The dangerous and difficult journey has reportedly killed seven children – most of them under one-year-old."

“Without reliable and accessible healthcare, protection and shelter, more children will die, day in, day out, in Rukban, Deir-Ez-Zor and elsewhere in Syria. History will judge us for these entirely avoidable deaths." Geert Cappelaere

Across the country, 1.75 million children remain out of school.  

How Many Syrian Refugees Are There?

Some 2.6 million Syrian children are living as refugees or on the run in search of safety, helping to fuel a global migrant crisis. Syria is now the world's biggest producer of both internally displaced people and refugees. Many children have spent several bitter winters living in makeshift shelters. More than 1 million Syrian refugee children — over 40 percent — are also missing out on education.

Saja was 12 when she lost her leg in a bomb attack in Eastern Aleppo. Her brother was killed in another attack. Above, she reads from an essay she wrote about her dream of peace for Syria: "I hope that all children who have lost their right to learn will go back to school, especially those who have lost their parents."

For these children, what's at stake isn't politics. It's their future. Having already lost their homes, schools and communities, their chances of building a future may also soon be lost. 

UNICEF has been on the ground since the conflict began, helping to mobilize the largest humanitarian operation in history and working closely with partners to provide education, water, health care and immunizations, physical protection, psychological support and clothing to children in Syria and Syrian refugee children in Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Europe. Children are Syria's future. We must support each and every child.

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