The number of child refugees that have fled Syria has now reached one million, according to a joint report published by the UN’s refugee and children’s agencies.
In their statement on Friday, the UNHCR and UNICEF said that children made up half of all refugees from the Syrian conflict and that most have arrived in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
“This one millionth child refugee is not just another number,” Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, said in the report. “This is a real child ripped from home, maybe even from a family, facing horrors we can only begin to comprehend.”
The report’s figures show that about 740,000 Syrian child refugees are under the age of 11 and that more than 3,500 children in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq have crossed Syria’s borders either alone or separated from their families.
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“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 traumatised, depressed and in need of a reason for hope,” UNHCR High Commissioner António Guterres said.
The UNHCR and UNICEF also estimated that about 7,000 children have been killed during the conflict and more than two million children have been internally displaced within Syria.
Some of the humanitarian efforts carried out by the agencies include providing vaccinations against measles, psychosocial assistance, education and water supplies.
Additionally, the UNHCR said it has helped Syrian babies born in exile to get birth certificates.
The report stated that despite the operations, more than $5bn in funding is still required to address the Syria crisis and to meet health and educational needs of these child refugees.
“While intensified efforts are needed to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria, parties to the conflict must stop targeting civilians and cease recruitment of children,” the statement concluded.