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Syrian crisis forces million children to flee homeland

August 23, 2013, 11:58 UTC+3

Even after they have crossed a border to safety, they are traumatized, depressed and in need of a reason for hope

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GENEVA, August 23 (Itar-Tass) - One million children have become refugees as a result of the Syrian crisis, and 740,000 of them are aged fewer than eleven, the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said in a statement.

A millionth child refugee is not just a figure. It is a really existing child taken from his home, maybe even from his family, who experiences horrors that are realized only at present, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake noted.

"We must all share the shame," he stressed, adding that the international community failed to fulfill its obligations to children.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, in his turn, noted that at stake was no less than survival and well-being of the whole generation of innocent people. The youth of Syria are losing their homes, their family members and their future. Even after they have crossed a border to safety, they are traumatized, depressed and in need of a reason for hope, he noted

According to the two U.N. agencies based in Geneva, the number of children is half of all the refugees driven abroad by the conflict. The total number nears two million.

Aside from the children who have fled Syria, about two million children who remain in the country are forced out from their homes. According to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, about 7,000 children have been killed over the period of more than two years of the armed conflict between the government forces and rebels in Syria.

The U.N. refugee agency and UNICEF remind the donor countries that they must more actively finance the U.N.-approved plan for the response to the Syrian crisis. The agencies asked for $4.4 billion in 2013. Three billion of them are earmarked for the needs of refugees, but it is only 38% financed. It is better with expenditures planned directly by UNICEF. The U.N. Children's Fund in 2013 has asked for $470.7 million for the needs of children in Syria and abroad, and $280.3 million already have been gathered.

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