Rising number of starving children in war-torn Syria: Charity

The number of malnourished and starving children in northeastern Syria, a region ravaged by more than a decade of conflict, has increased by 150%, the humanitarian organization Save the Children announced on Thursday.

“Every day we have to deal with more malnourished children than the day before,” the aid agency said in an urgent appeal to donors.

“Malnutrition puts children’s lives at risk. Poverty and the inability to afford food are the main reasons given by families for this increase.”

From April to September, the aid agency registered more than 10,000 malnourished children, up from 6,650 in the previous six months.

Adding to the conflict, Syria is mired in its worst economic crisis since war erupted in 2011 when the government brutally cracked down on pro-democracy protests, killing nearly half a million people.

The UN estimates that 90% of the 18 million Syrians live in poverty, with the economy hit by conflict, drought and the Covid pandemic as well as fallout from the financial crash in neighboring Lebanon.

The situation appears to be extreme in areas beyond the control of the Damascus government.

“While average family income has not increased, food prices have skyrocketed by almost 800% between 2019 and 2021, and continue to rise in 2022,” the charity added.

“This massive price hike is forcing ever-increasing numbers of people to go hungry.”

Al-Yarubiyah’s key crossing into northeast Syria from Iraq was closed in 2020 after Russia and China vetoed UN Security Council resolutions allowing it to remain open, limiting aid access to the region.

Since then, aid to these areas controlled by Kurdish forces requires the approval of Damascus, an ally of Moscow.

“After nearly 12 years of conflict in Syria, the deteriorating economic situation has become the main driver of need, despite the continued armed conflict in many parts of the country,” said Beat Rohr, head of Save the Children in Syria. Syria.

“At least 60% of the population is currently food insecure, and the situation is getting worse day by day.

Edward N. Arrington