One In Five Children In Iraq Are In Serious Danger, Says UNICEF

Displaced children play with ropes in Hassan Sham camp, east of Mosul, Iraq.  

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Iraqi children face poverty, violence, exploitation

Ongoing conflict in Iraq has left a total of 11 million people, including 5.1 million children, in need of humanitarian assistance. Children make up almost half of the 3 million Iraqis displaced by the conflict. Many of Iraq’s camps are operating beyond capacity, and families live in overcrowded conditions. Children are in danger of separation from their families, abduction, recruitment into the fighting, and sexual violence. Living amidst armed conflict – including exposure to mines and improvised explosive devices – puts them at risk of death and injury, and threatens their long-term mental health and future development.
Meanwhile, damaged and overstretched water and sanitation infrastructure and weakened health systems put children’s health and survival in jeopardy. At least 70 per cent of displaced children have missed a whole year of school. UNICEF has been working with partners to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children and families – providing access to safe water and sanitation, education, protection, health and nutrition services. UNICEF also operates Child-Friendly Spaces, where children can find respite through play, learning and psychosocial support, to help them cope with the ordeals they’ve been through.

Millions of Iraqi children repeatedly and relentlessly targeted

The report says almost 10% of Iraq’s children – more than 1.5 million – have been forced to flee their homes since the intensification of fighting. “The conflict is exposing children in Iraq to daily horrors. Unless addressed immediately, young minds, haunted by fear and hatred, could slip into a spiral of despair, darkness and a sense of helplessness. Learning, playing and aspiring to a more prosperous future will be a thing of the past.”