Children Victims of War and Natural Disasters

Right now, I am 12 years old and I fight. When I get older, I’d like to be a child.
Alfonso, boy soldier, Nicaragua

Over the last decade alone, armed conflict has claimed the lives of over 2 million children. Another six million have been left wounded or disabled for life. One million have become orphans. It is estimated today that more than 300,000 children have been enrolled in militia groups and armies and been forced to carry a gun. Half of those they kill are other children. Whether it is in Afghanistan, Iraq or in conflict-ridden areas of Africa, UNESCO has played a vital role in providing education and relief.

Similarly with natural disasters, the first to suffer from a lack of sanitation, infrastructure and order after a catastrophe are the most vulnerable: children. Outbreaks of disease following natural disasters hit children the hardest. UNESCO’s Programme for the Education of Children in Need seeks to be on hand to offer relief and reconstruction expertise.

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Since 1992, other projects for children affected by war and natural disasters have been supported in the following countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Belarus, Burundi, Congo, Costa Rica,Croatia, Cuba, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Malawi, Rwanda, Palestinian Autonomous Territories, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Serbia-Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Somalia, Sudan.

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