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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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Toxicity in Air Affects Children’s Brain Development: UNICEF

UNICEF has warned that air pollution affects a child's brain development

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Brain Development
According to UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, air pollution toxicity can affect children's brain development. Pixabay

Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore has warned that air pollution toxicity can affect children’s brain development and called for urgent action to deal with the crisis gripping India and South Asia.

“I saw first-hand how children continue to suffer from the dire consequences of air pollution,” Fore, who recently visited India, said on Wednesday.

“The air quality was at a crisis level. You could smell the toxic fog even from behind an air filtration mask,” she added.

Air pollution affects children most severely and its effects continue all their lives because they have smaller lungs, breathe twice as fast as adults and lack immunities, Fore said.

Brain Development
Air pollution damages brain tissue and undermines brain development in babies and young children. Pixabay

She added that it “damages brain tissue and undermines cognitive development in babies and young children, leading to lifelong consequences that can affect their learning outcomes and future potential. There is evidence to suggest that adolescents exposed to higher levels of air pollution are more likely to experience mental health problems”.

“Unicef is calling for urgent action to address this air quality crisis,” affecting 620 million children in South Asia.

Also Read- Snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir to Help Bring Pollution Down in Neighbouring States

Schools were closed in Delhi till Tuesday because of the severe environmental situation caused by post-harvest burning of stubble in neighbouring states.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) on Sunday touched 625, considered “severe plus” level. (IANS)