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Boko Haram attacks uproot 1.4 million children in five months: UNICEF

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

United Nations: According to UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), around half a million children have been uprooted over the last five months due to a sharp increase in the attacks carried by Boko Haram.

Photo Credit: http://www.wikiprogress.org
Photo Credit: http://www.wikiprogress.org

In northern Nigeria alone, 1.2 million children, more than half of them under 5, have been forced to flee their homes, Xinhua quoted UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric as saying on Friday.

Dujarric added that an additional 265,000 children were uprooted from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.

“Together with governments and partners in all four impacted countries, UNICEF has scaled up its operations,” he said.

More than 315,000 children have been vaccinated against measles. More than 200,000 people received access to safe water. Some 65,000 displaced and refugee children  had access to education and were able to continue learning thanks to the delivery of school materials.

UNICEF added that with more refugees and not enough resources, its ability to deliver lifesaving assistance on the ground is now seriously compromised.

The UN agency’s work in the West Africa region is almost 70 percent underfunded, having received only 32 percent of the $50.3 million needed for humanitarian efforts in 2015.

Because of this, more than 124,000 children in the conflict-torn area have not received measles vaccinations, more than 83,000 lack access to safe water, and over 208,000 are not in school.

(With inputs from 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)