Children trapped amid fighting in Syria are being killed, maimed, and denied access to food and medicine as the number of child refugees fleeing the civil war tops one million, Save the Children said Thursday.
The aid agency has spoken to families trapped by some of the worst violence yet seen in the two-and-a-half year conflict. They tell of a desperate struggle to survive, living under bombardment, the threat of violence and ever dwindling supplies as the war chokes Syrian cities.
Outside Syria, the number of refugees forced to abandon their homes and livelihoods and settle in neighbouring countries has exploded in 2013, and has seen a tenfold increase since the same day in 2012.[ Also Read: Using Social Media to Save the Children in Syria ]
Save the Children regional director for the Middle East Roger Hearn said: “It is appalling that the world has stood and watched as one million children have been forced from their country, terrified, traumatised and in some cases orphaned.
“This is not a crisis we can sit out; it is not going away. The refugee disaster the war in Syria has created is getting far worse, far faster than the world can cope with. It is now critically important world leaders secure humanitarian access across Syria.
“At least 7,000 children are dead and one million have been exiled as a result of this war. How many more grim milestones must the world witness before these horrors can be ended?”[ Also Read: Attempts to Save the Children in Syria ]
Countries with large refugee populations are struggling to cope with the influx, and close to two-thirds of funding pledged to help countries deal with the refugee crisis has yet to materialize. In the last week alone, close to 30,000 refugees have fled Syria for northern Iraq.
Save the Children is a leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in 120 countries, including the United States.
Photo courtesy: Jonathan Hyams/Save the Children