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2008 began on a promising note for children in Iraq. Violence had fallen in Baghdad. Schools and shops were opening in some of the capital’s formerly most insecure areas. The national cholera outbreak had subsided, fresh displacement was at the lowest level since 2006, and the latest polio immunization campaign had been successfully completed. However, the last two months have seen new challenges arise. In February, national officials reported a 33% rise in the number of Iraqis killed over the previous month, reversing a six-month trend of declining casualties. Major mass casualty attacks took place in Kirkuk, Mosul and Samarra. UNICEF was one of several UN Agencies and NGOs to quickly respond with support to treat victims and repair schools. The psycho-social impact of conflict on children has become a growing concern in the first months of this year.
Update on the Situation of Children in Iraq - First Quarter of 2008 [pdf]

In 2007, Iraqi children’s lives and their family livelihoods were precarious. Conflict split children’s communities and took the lives of approximately 19,500 of their friends and families (according to United Nations data for 2007). Thousands of children lost mothers and fathers to bombs and shootings. Others fell into poverty after their main family wage-earner was kidnapped or killed. Throughout the year, many schools did not open regularly or overcrowded, local health centres were under-stocked and water supplies a growing  challenge. By the end of the year, the number of Iraqis forced to flee their homes since 2006 reached 1.2 million, 50% of them children.
Child health suffered as the number of people living in camps and temporary shelters increased. Vaccination rates fell, food supplies ran short and safe water became a premium in the crippling summer heat, leading, at the end of summer, to the biggest cholera outbreak in recent memory. Living with so much anxiety and loss took a heavy toll on children’s psychological and social wellbeing.
Iraq’s Children 2007: A Year in Their Life [pdf]

Four years after start of the 2003 conflict, Iraq’s children are facing an enormous challenge. Their long-cherished hope for a normal childhood – enjoying health care, school services, family life and a stable community - is being swept away by violence and displacement. Every day, more and more children are losing family members, friends and neighbours, school days, their health, their hopes – and even their lives.
UNICEF is requesting US$ 41,750,000 to step up its humanitarian relief effort for vulnerable Iraqi children and women in Iraq, Jordan and Syria over the next six months.
Immediate Needs for Iraqi children in Iraq and Neighbouring Countries, 17 May 2007 [pdf]


 


 

 

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