Children of War
Source: Nature Middle East , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Mon September 22, 2014 4:28 pm

UAE. In a world careening out of control, children and teens affected by war yearn for the familiar – a roof over their heads, or a school schedule to commit to, or simply a family member to hold their hands.

But these basic needs are a luxury for many, living under shelling in conflict zones or tucked away in refugee camps in foreign countries.

The children witness family death, destruction and house arrests. They move from apartments and big houses to overcrowded tents, and naturally, they become hopeless about their future, and vulnerable to acute stress and depression—an issue that’s quickly becoming a phenomenon, and which Nature Middle East thoroughly reports on, in a series of features looking at the effect of war on children.

In context of the conflict raging across places like Iraq, Syria, and the Palestinian territories, surviving through the war becomes a luxury. Hundreds of children lose their lives, and not just through bombings and bullets, but also in run-down hospitals.

In Syria, vaccine-preventable diseases like polio and measles are cropping up, while production of drugs for a myriad of other diseases cannot satisfy demand. With medical personnel fleeing the country in both Syria and Iraq, children are mostly being treated and operated on by amateurs with little to no training, or doctors that are spread thin over hundreds of cases.

In Iraq, infant mortality has increased dramatically, and immunization campaigns are inconsistent.

Meanwhile, schools are closing down; turning into shelters for the internally displaced inside Iraq. Hosting regions and countries—taking in millions of refugees—offer second shifts across schools, or expand their classes to accommodate up to 60 students, but teachers are fleeing the conflict like everyone else, leaving a void behind.

Many school-age kids abandoned education and are already in fulltime jobs, or idle and at risk of being recruited by extremist groups.

These factors coming together are shaping a dark legacy that may affect generations to come—and children seem to be the one experiencing the worst of it.

For more information and to read the full coverage on “Nature Middle East” website: http://www.natureasia.com/en/nmiddleeast/article/10.1038/nmiddleeast.2014.216

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