NANCY JAISWAL: “It is now more urgent than ever to end the violence in Syria and to improve access across the country”- UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley stated earlier today. “Children across Syria are enduring the impact of a merciless war and will continue to suffer long after the guns have gone silent,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “Over the past 9 years, schools and hospitals have been bombed, families have been torn apart, and young lives have been lost. Even in areas far away from the frontlines, families are struggling to feed their children and rebuild their lives. For those responsible for this collective failure on Syria: History will judge you harshly.”
Nine years of war have left Syria’s economy in a major down row, pushing millions of people into hunger and food insecurity.
“The millions of people whose lives have been shattered by war can no longer afford to put food on the table as the Syrian economy has taken a nosedive in recent months,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme. “WFP is providing food assistance to over 7.5 million people inside Syria and in the neighboring countries who would otherwise be on their own. The war has left Syria a broken country and above all the people desperately need peace.”
During their trip, Fore and Beasley visited a school, along with a food distribution center and a health clinic in Sinjar, southern Idlib, 30 kilometers away from the frontline, where they met nine-year-old school children who were born the year the war started and are catching up on their learning after years of missing out. They also visited a woman who lost her small business when the war forced her to leave her home and is now dependent on WFP assistance to feed her three young siblings who live with disabilities.
Further up north in Idlib, the situation of children and families has become even worse: More than half a million children have been displaced in the past three months, an average of 6,000 a day. Some 180 schools are out of operation because they were destroyed, damaged or used as a shelter for displaced families. Food prices have increased by 120 percent since last year.
In their meetings with government officials, Fore and Beasley reviewed their agencies’ commitment to helping Syria’s most vulnerable children and families.
For further highlighted the need to address the plight of foreign children in the northeast. UNICEF and WFP are working together in Syria to help prevent and treat malnutrition, strengthen data collection, and provide school feeding to keep children in school.