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2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria

Media Release: 2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9thyear

March 2019 marks the ninth year of the Syrian crisis. Syrian children are in as much danger today as at any other time in the brutal conflict.

In 2018, more than 1,000 children were killed in the fighting – the highest ever number of children killed in a single year since the start of the war.

UNICEF New Zealand advocates andfundraises forchildrenin danger around the world. Vivien Maidaborn, UNICEF NZ Executive Director, says children are being ruthlessly targeted.

“The UN has verified that 1,106 Syrian children were killed last year. The true number is likely to be much higher” says Ms Maidaborn.

262 attacks were carried out on schools and health facilities in 2018 alone.

Many New Zealanders share the misconception that the war in Syria is drawing to a close – but it is not. The majority of Syrian children remain in extreme danger and will be affected for years to come.

Mine contamination is now the leading cause of child casualties across the country. 434 children were killed and injured by unexploded weapons last year.

The Syrian refugee crisis remains the largest displacement crisis in the world, with almost 5.7 million registered refugees, including 2.6 million children, living in host countries. Syrian children have limited access to food, water, shelter, health care and education in overcrowded camps.

“Without income-earning opportunities, many families cannot send their children to school. Syrian children are being forced into early marriage or joining armies for pay” says Ms Maidaborn.

Generous Kiwi donors gave $380,000 last year to UNICEF NZ. However, more money is urgently needed to provide life-saving food, water, shelter, medicine and protection.

As the war enters its ninth year, UNICEF again reminds parties to the conflict and the global community that it is the country’s children who have suffered most and have the most to lose. Each day the conflict continues is another day stolen from their childhood.

Every child has the right to be safe, regardless of where they live.

About UNICEF NZ
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

UNICEF NZ works to fundraise and deliver projects for children in Aotearoa and around the world.

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