One in five children across the Middle East and North Africa needs humanitarian aid

News Hour:

Nearly one in five children across the Middle East and North Africa need immediate humanitarian assistance, according to latest data and analysis. Over 90 per cent of these children live in countries affected by conflict.

“Conflict continues to rob millions of girls and boys of their childhood. Decades of progress are at a risk of being reversed across the Middle East and North Africa,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director.

Children have been hit hardest by ongoing years of violence, displacement and lack of basic services. Civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, energy, water, sanitation and hygiene installations have often come under attack, exposing children to the risk of death and diseases.

Millions of families were forced to flee their homes – some multiple times and under fire. Continued violence and displacement have increasingly made it difficult for children and families to cope.

“With no end in sight to these conflicts and with families’ dwindling financial resources, many have no choice but to send their children to work or marry their daughters early. The number of children affiliated with the fighting has more than doubled” said Cappelaere.

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