Does the World Care? 1 Mn Syrian Children Refugees & Aid Money Running Out

The Syrian conflict has produced a massive refugee problem, and it reached a new level of horror this week with news that the UN High Commission on Refugees estimates that there are a million children refugees alone. UN resources for dealing with this problem are fast dwindling and donor pledges are falling short.

Note that Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were able to find $12 billion for Egypt’s military junta when it repressed their rival, the Muslim Brotherhood. The same countries have supported the Syrian uprising and have a responsibility to these Arab children, whose lives are being blighted by lack of sanitation and lack of education.

UNHCR has a video report that will break your heart:

The United Nations News Service writes:

23 August 2013 – Three years of bloodshed in Syria have driven one million children from their homeland, United Nations agencies said today as they marked this “shameful milestone” by urging the entire international community to do more to help end the conflict and protect the well-being of “a generation of innocents.”

“This one millionth child refugee is not just another number,” said the Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Anthony Lake. “This is a real child ripped from home, maybe even from a family, facing horrors we can only begin to comprehend.”

Mr. Lake said that while humanitarian organizations are working to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the crisis, the shameful milestone reflects the failure of the international community to respond to the needs of Syrian children.

“We should stop and ask ourselves how, in all conscience, we can continue to fail the children of Syria,” he said.

According to UNICEF and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), children make up half of all refugees. Most have arrived in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Increasingly, they are fleeing to North Africa and Europe.

The majority of child refugees, some 740,000, are under the age of 11, and more than 3,500 children in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq have crossed Syria’s borders either unaccompanied or separated from their families, making them vulnerable to multiple threats including child labour, early marriage and the potential for sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Inside Syria, some 7,000 children have been killed during the conflict, and UNHCR and UNICEF estimate that over 2 million have been internally displaced.

“What is at stake is nothing less than the survival and wellbeing of a generation of innocents,” said High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “The youth of Syria are losing their homes, their family members and their futures. Even after they have crossed a border to safety, they are traumatized, depressed and in need of a reason for hope.”

UNHCR and UNICEF are providing support to millions of affected families and children. More than 1.3 million children in refugee communities have been vaccinated against measles this year with the support of UNICEF and its partners. Nearly 167,000 refugee children have received psychosocial assistance, more than 118,000 children have been able to maintain their education inside and out of formal schools, and more than 222,000 people have been provided with water supplies.

UNHCR has registered all 1 million children, giving them an identity. The agency also helps babies born in exile get birth certificates, preventing them from becoming stateless.

Mr. Lake and Mr. Guterres stressed that funds for humanitarian assistance are running low, with the Syria Regional Refugee Response plan being only 38 per cent funded. They also underlined the need to find a political solution to the crisis, and appealed to all parties to the conflict to stop targeting civilians and cease recruitment of children.

Those who fail to meet these obligations under international humanitarian law should be held fully accountable for their actions, they added.

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Mirrored from the United Nations News Service

9 Responses

  1. “…does the world care?” “The world” that counts, the Great Geopoliticians, counts on the creation of refugees and displacement of persons as one element of strategy. Some of the rest of us do what we can, up to the exhaustion of our empathy and ability to care, and of our ability to pay, since we are also paying so much to support the Game and the petro-consumption addiction and its sequelae, and simply getting the essentials for our own lives and pushing our own Imperial Juggernaut up the Sisyphean mountain, taxes us to the limit.

    What a strange, sick, pathological species we are. Creating, for supposed “national interest” reasons, the equivalents of ugly and horrific natural disasters by taking money out of the public pocket to play the Game, with inevitable consequences, and then reaching back into the public pocket with that smaller, generous, increasing the Gross Domestic Product by paying out some of the costs of “rectifying” the horror. With a smug “That’s baseball!” to justify the whole idiotic loop…

    So we have some of us who, for the vilest and evilest of reasons, cause the equivalent of Indian Ocean tsunamis, and Gulf of Mexico hurricanes, and tornado clean-sweeps of Plains States communities, and continental wildfires, and then some others of us rush or plod to succor, or not.

    And then it all becomes about “What options in violence and further destruction does Obama have at this juncture? Because after all The Russians and The Iranians and some idiot notion that “the world community” that does not include you and me in its calculus, now for stated and covert reasons simply MUST “punish” a certain wayward Player… by adding to the “bugsplat count” and “unfortunate dislocation” that who could possibly have avoided?

  2. does anyone know how much of what they receive from private donations(unhcr and unicef) goes directly to aid?

  3. Please, when printing articles of this nature, let the public know what we can do to help. For the agencies that are working for these children, what is their preferred response? Monetary contributions, contacting our government representatives, letter writing campaign, petitions? People will help if we just know the best way to support the front line organizations.

  4. “Does the world care?”

    Some people in the world do care, but they are in a minority, and many of them are already overwhelmed with helping other charities. I have said to friends that if I donated to every worthwhile charity that asks me for a donation via my email I would be broke in no time. Their response? “I know what you mean.”

    My understanding is that the oil sheiks of the Arabian peninsula are largely instrumental in creating this Syrian crisis. The UN should, but won’t, go after them to pay up.

  5. Dear Professor Cole

    Only six other people cared enough to comment.

    I care because I know people in Damascus,and Aleppo and Homs and their friends, and it distresses me to have to share instructions with them on how to build air raid refuges in their flats and where to find instructions in Arabic on how to respond to a gas attack.

    It distresses me greatly to read of other friends who have fled to UAE,Lebanon, and Egypt and are at the mercy of events there.

    When it is all over and the shooting eventually stops we will need to rebuild a tourist industry and set up twinning schemes and rescue and rehabilitation schemes for the refugees.

    And most of all we need to avoid forgetting this Nakba.

  6. “When it is all over and the shooting eventually stops …”

    That could be a long time from now if some people have their way. This is from Mondoweiss:

    “You may have noticed that John Kerry’s peace process, by excluding Hamas among other measures, is aimed at managing the conflict. Not resolving the basic justice issues, because they seem too overwhelming, but putting the conflict on the back burner so it doesn’t boil up. Trying to sustain the unsustainable status quo by making it more sustainable.

    “Inthe New York Times, Edward N. Luttwak has the very same prescription for Syria. “In Syria, America loses if either side wins.” Luttwak wants endless bloodshed– “four of Washington’s enemies” tied down in neverending war. It seems like these include Israel’s enemies, Hezbollah and Iran.”

  7. Top donors to the Syria Human Response Plan can be found here:

    link to theguardian.com

    Atta boys to the US, UK, and Kuwait. Shame on the rest of the world, especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Russia, and Iran, which have found money for the war but not for the refugees.

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