For 70 years UNICEF has been working to protect the most vulnerable children around the world, unfortunately, as 2017 begins nearly a quarter of the world’s children live in conflict or disaster-stricken countries.
These 535 million children often have no access to medical care, quality education nor proper nutrition and protection, announced the agency. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly three-quarters, 393 million, of these children followed by the Middle East and North Africa where 12% of these children live.
Violence has had a devastating effect on millions of children. In Syria, nearly 500,000 children live under siege and in northeastern Nigeria, almost one million children are displaced. In Afghanistan half of the primary-aged children are out of school and about 10 million children have been affected by the conflict in Yemen.
Natural disasters also put children at risk. More than 3 months after hurricane Matthew in Haiti more than 900,000 children under five remain in need of assistance.
“UNICEF was established to bring help and hope to children whose lives and futures are endangered by conflict and deprivation, and this enormous figure, representing the individual lives of half a billion children, is a sharp reminder that our mission is becoming more urgent every day,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.
“Whether children live in a country in conflict or a country in peace, their development is critical not only to their individual futures but also to the future of their societies,” concluded Lake.