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27 Children killed in chemical attack in Idlib province of Syria: UNICEF

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(Representational Image ) In this image made from video and posted online from Validated UGC, a Civil Defense worker carries a child after airstrikes hit Aleppo, Syria, April 28, 2016. VOA
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United Nations, April 6, 2017: At least 27 children were killed in the chemical attack in Idlib province of Syria, the UN Children’s Fund said here on Thursday.

A further 546 people, among them many children, have been injured, the UN agency said in a press release. “Casualty figures are expected to rise.”

“The killing of children in Syria cannot be allowed to continue,” said the Unicef Regional Director, Geert Cappelaere, demanding: “All parties to the conflict and those with influence on them must immediately put an end to this horror.”

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UNICEF and partners continue to respond to the attack by supporting three mobile clinics and four hospitals to provide first aid and treatment, and nine ambulances to refer and transport patients to hospitals in the area.

UNICEF is also delivering critical medical supplies and working with health partners to raise awareness about medical response to chemical attacks, the press release added.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said he is deeply disturbed by reports of alleged use of chemical weapons in an airstrike in Idlib.

Media reports said about 70 persons were killed and 200 others were wounded Tuesday in a gas attack in a rebel-held area in southern Idlib.

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Also on Tuesday, a senior Syrian military officer denied reports of military toxic attack on rebel-held area in Idlib. The senior officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the rebels were the ones using the toxic gas against civilians to frame the Syrian army.

Earlier in the day, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said warplanes carried out intensive airstrikes on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in the countryside of Idlib province, killing dozens of people, mostly civilians. (IANS)

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Millions Of Urban Children in Worse Condition Than Rural People: UNICEF

ICLEI, a global network of more than 1,500 cities, towns and regions, said disasters were more likely to impact the most vulnerable in cities, including children.

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Urban CHildren
A girl sells candies along a street in the Miraflores district in Lima. VOA

Millions of poor urban children are more likely to die before their fifth birthday than those living in rural areas, according to a U.N. study released Tuesday that challenges popular assumptions behind the global urbanization trend.

The UNICEF research found not all children in cities benefited from the so-called urban advantage — the idea that higher incomes, better infrastructure and proximity to services make for better lives.

“For rural parents, at face-value, the reasons to migrate to cities seem obvious: better access to jobs, health care and education opportunities for their children,” said Laurence Chandy, UNICEF director of data, research and policy.

urban children
Children play in a pool that has no system to replace the water in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 13, 2015. Brazil is among the world’s largest economies, but lags in access to water and sanitation. Rapid urban growth in recent decades, poor planning, political infighting and economic instability are largely to blame, experts say. VOA

“But not all urban children are benefiting equally; we find evidence of millions of children in urban areas who fare worse than their rural peers.”

Although most urban children benefit from living in cities, the study identified 4.3 million globally who were more likely to die before age five than their rural counterparts, and said 13.4 million were less likely to complete primary school.

“Children should be a focus of urban planning, yet in many cities they are forgotten, with millions of children cut off from social services in urban slums and informal settlements,” said Chandy in a statement.

Urban Children
A mother seeking entry into the United States with her children in McAllen, Texas. VOA

About 1 billion people are estimated to live in slums globally, hundreds of millions of them children, according to the U.N. children’s agency.

A decade ago, the world officially became majority urban, and two-thirds of the global population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050, according to the United Nations.

“We applaud UNICEF for putting numbers around a problem that will only get more serious as more and more families move to cities,” said Patrin Watanatada of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, which works to promote early childhood development. “Cities can be wonderful places to grow up, rich with opportunities — but they can also pose serious challenges for a child’s healthy development.”

 Urban children
New campaign to limit children’s calories to 200 per day. wikimedia commons

Poor transport links, limited access to health clinics and parks, as well as growing air pollution and stressed caregivers can exacerbate city living for children, said Watanatada.

Improved walking and cycling infrastructure, affordable housing and transportation, and polices targeted at supporting children and those who care for them could help ease life for urban families.

Also Read: Ebola Increases The Number Of Orphans in DRC: UNICEF

ICLEI, a global network of more than 1,500 cities, towns and regions, said disasters were more likely to impact the most vulnerable in cities, including children.

“Children are disproportionately affected by gaps in urban services, especially when it comes to water, sanitation, air quality, and food security,” said Yunus Arikan, head of global policy and advocacy at ICLEI. (VOA)