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Syrian conflict in Idlib Syrian conflict in Idlib  (AFP or licensors)

WFP and UNICEF: End the violence and protect children in Syria

As the Syrian conflict enters its 10th year, the Heads of the UN World Food Programme and children’s agency UNICEF are calling for a cessation of hostilities and the protection of children.

By Vatican News

Children in Syria have endured the impact of a war that has gone on for the past nine years.

One-third of the Syrian people are food insecure, 1 in 3 children out of school, and over half of all health facilities are non-functional.

Returning from a two-day visit to the conflict ridden country, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley said, “it is now more urgent than ever to end the violence in Syria and to improve access across the country.”

Syria is now a country on the brink economic collapse. The numbers speak for themselves. Between 2018 and 2019, the number of food-insecure people increased from 6.5 million to 7.9 million, and food prices went up by 60 per cent.

In Idlib, the humanitarian situation is critical. Over the last three months alone over half a million children have been displaced and numerous schools are non-operational because they have either been destroyed or damaged.

The picture does not get much better in the northeast of the country, with WFP and UNICEF reporting that “tens of thousands of children continue to languish in displacement camps, deprived of the most basic services, despite the significant efforts of humanitarian partners.”  

Before returning from their visit, both directors stressed the importance of being able to move staff and supplies across conflict lines and across borders in order to reach the populations most in need.

They also renewed their agencies’ commitment “to helping Syria’s most vulnerable children and families and providing them with education, nutrition, health, protection services and food.”

06 March 2020, 13:37