The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday said that around 1 in 9 of the world’s children is now living in conflict zones.
Making this known in a press statement a copy which was obtained from the United Nations headquarters in New York, the agency disclosed that in 2015, children living in countries and areas affected by conflict were twice as likely to die of mostly preventable causes before they reached the age of five, than those in other countries.
Signed by Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes, the statement said millions of children are being robbed of their education, stressing that education is a life-saving measure for children, providing them with the opportunity to learn and play, amidst the carnage of gunfire and grenades.
“This year, a quarter of our appeal is devoted to education. By educating the minds of children and young people we are building hope so they can envisage a better future for themselves, their families and their societies and help break the cycle of chronic crisis.” The statement reads in parts.
Furthermore, the statement described climate change as a growing threat, with over half a billion children living in extremely high flood occurrence zones and nearly 160 million living in high or extremely high drought severity zones.
It added that one of the strongest El Niño weather events on record poses further risk.
On the global refugee crises, UNICEF official said in the statement that the number of people forced from their homes continues to grow, with Europe alone receiving more than 1 million refugees and migrants in 2015.
“In the past few months I have seen with my own eyes children pushed beyond the boundaries of human suffering in Burundi, northeast Nigeria and along the migrant and refugee route in Europe.
“Across the world, millions of children have been forced to flee their homes due to violence and conflict. The global refugee crisis is also a protection crisis for children on the move, who are at increased risk of abuse, exploitation and trafficking,” says Khan.