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Children 'may never recover' from Syrian conflict, says World Vision

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Laura Blank

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Amman, JORDAN (August 29, 2014) — Children’s aid agency World Vision is urging world leaders not to forget the ongoing suffering of children caused by the Syrian conflict, as refugee numbers surpassed 3 million Friday in what the UN is calling “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.”

“More than half of these refugees are children,” said Wynn Flaten, World Vision’s Regional Response Manager for Syria. “Every day these numbers will keep rising, and children will continue to make their first tentative steps across borders into unknown lands, while children who’ve already been displaced for years struggle to keep safe, protected and educated.”

“Children we meet in our child protection and remedial education programs in Lebanon and Jordan show amazing resilience. But when they can’t get into schools or can’t escape the financial necessity of child labor, what kind of future will they have?”

Safe passage to neighboring countries is not the end of the suffering for refugee children, the agency says. Life in desert camps or new communities would be frightening for any child, but these children have lived with the most horrific forms of conflict in Syria. They’ve endured violence; most have lost friends, neighbors or family members. In many cases they’ve been injured themselves. Crossing a border and starting anew is no easy task.

“These children have come from one of the world’s most dangerous places. They need so much support to be able to recover from that, but the odds are against them. They need safe shelter, but that is only the beginning. They need special protection. They need to get into schools. Even when they can get in, often the classrooms are overflowing with extra students, or they are bullied to such an extent that they no longer even want to go,” said Flaten.

“Children may never recover from this. If the world continues to turn its back on Syria, it is the children who’ll continue to suffer the most. More needs to be done to peacefully stop this conflict, and more support needs to be given to host countries and humanitarian actors. We’re going to be dealing with this one for years to come, and the odds are against us,” Flaten added.

Approximately 6.5 million children have now been affected by the Syrian conflict, and 1.5 million have become refugees. World Vision is working in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, meeting the needs of hundreds of thousands of people and appealing for more funds.

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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/press or on Twitter @WorldVisionNews.