Syria or Latin America: Which one is worse to be a child in?

In nations such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador the lack of access to good nutrition, health, and basic educational puts at risk the cognitive skills of children

Syria or Latin America: Which one is worse to be a child in? 

The six years of war in Syria have been enough to claim the lives of 450,000 people; more than five million individuals have been forced to seek refuge; the physical and mental health of more than 2.5 million children who have been deprived of basic needs, such as water, food, and schooling, are at risk. These figures seem to be the expected result of regions in conflict.

However, in some Latin American countries there is no need to be at war to approach similar levels of hostility.

A report presented by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) revealed that in Syria more than 2.4 million children have stopped attending school; before the conflict, more than 95% of kids attended institutes.

The reasons for this to happen are varied. Some schools have been razed or modified into a refuge. Due to the current crisis, kids are being forced to work in order to pay for the basic needs of their families. If not, they are either taken and recruited by the army where they are trained to go to war.  

In Latin America, the numbers do not have much disparity since more than 2.5 million children do not attend school. In these countries war is not the cause, but poverty that affects the most vulnerable areas and deprives the population of basic needs. In nations such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador the lack of access to good nutrition, health, and basic educational puts at risk the cognitive skills of children.

According to an analysis of the Poverty Laboratory in Latin America (LAC Equity LAB of the World Bank), in the territory there are 69 million children living in poverty, 27 million of these are in situations of extreme scarcity. As if that were not enough, the percentage of Latin American children living below the poverty line (US $ 4 / day) is double than that of adults: 36% and 19%, respectively.

Although Venezuela is not on the list of the five poorest nations in Latin American, it is a nation that in recent years has put the safety of children at risk. There, infant mortality due to malnutrition has increased by 38% and more than 50% of the total of children population suffers from undernourishment. In addition to these, diseases are now more difficult to treat due to the shortage of medicines.

Poverty vs War

In Syria, more than 7 million children are hindered in poverty because of war. In this Middle East region, 1 out of every 3 children was born amidst violent conditions. Just in 2015, more than 1,500 serious violations against children took place in Syria and more than 15,000 children have been separated from their families and forced to crossed nation’s borders alone in search of refuge.

In Latin America a child dies every three minutes because of malnutrition, violence, or unhealthy conditions of the mother. Six million children suffer from undernourishment and hundreds of thousands are forced to work in informality, leaving school, and with it all possibility of grow and development.

 

Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto 

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