Lives of 24 million children threatened by conflict - UNICEF

The UN agency says conflict is driving millions of children to hunger, disease and death.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A statement from UNICEF said 400,000 children in the Democratic Republic of Congo were “at risk of severe acute malnutrition" meaning they could die without immediate aid.

The United Nation's children agency says regional conflicts are threatening the lives of over 24 million children in the Middle East and North Africa, from malnutrition, disease, lack of access to hospitals displacement, and other consequences of conflict.

Yemen, Iraq and Syria are the countries where most of children are under threat.

The agency said that from cholera in Yemen to attacks on hospitals in Syria and the tens of thousands of children trapped in Iraq's city of Mosul, the violence is depriving children of essential health care.

Yemen alone has 9.6 million children in need.

Earlier this year, the UN made an emergency appeal for Yemen, where millions faced starvation as the country stood on the brink of famine.

UNICEF said water and sanitation services have been compromised, causing waterborne diseases to spread, while there is not enough food to meet children's needs. Less than 45 percent of the country's health facilities are fully functional.

Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF's regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said that "violence is crippling health systems in conflict-affected countries and threatens children's very survival."

Hunger and conflict in DRC

Children in Africa are similarly affected by conflict and violence. 

Spiralling violence between government troops and tribal militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo has left 400,000 children at the risk dying of hunger in the troubled Kasai region.

A statement said the children were “at risk of severe acute malnutrition" meaning they could die without immediate aid.

UNICEF said the conflict in central Kasai has disrupted food supplies and undermined medical facilities.

"Without adequate medical help, without access to food and drinking water, the lives of hundreds of thousands of children are under threat."

The conflict in the region has forced 1.27 million people from their homes since September.

The fighting erupted after government troops last August killed tribal chief Jean Pierre Mpandi, also known as Kamwina Nsapu, who had launched an uprising against President Joseph Kabila.

TRTWorld and agencies