The number of Syrian children who have fled war in their homeland has now reached 1 million, as the conflict has entered its third year, two UN agencies said on Friday.
“This 1 millionth child refugee is not just another number,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said. “This is a real child ripped from home, maybe even from a family, facing horrors we can only begin to comprehend.”
“We must all share the shame because while we work to alleviate the suffering of those affected by this crisis, the global community has failed in its responsibility to this child,” Mr. Lake said.
UNICEF and the UN refugee agency warned that the 29-month conflict has exacted a high price from children.
“What is at stake is nothing less than the survival and well-being of a generation of innocents,” refugee High Commissioner Antonio Guterres said.
“The youth of Syria are losing their homes, their family members and their futures,” he said. “Even after they have crossed a border to safety, they are traumatised, depressed and in need of a reason for hope.” Children make up half of all refugees from Syria’s conflict, and the latest figures showed that about 740,000 Syrian refugees are under the age of 11, the two agencies said.
The Syrian civil war, in which rebels are trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad has displaced about 6.8 million people, including 4.2 million inside the country, the UN said in July.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in the war, it said.