On World Refugee Day, World Vision Australia is urging Australians to remember the fact that more than half of the 2.8 million Syrian refugees fleeing conflict are children. The United Nations estimates that this number will reach a staggering 3 million refugees in just a few months.
Syrian refugee children suffer physical and psychological impact, with many losing their homes, and some, their families. Alarmingly, many are often pulled out of school, with some forced into child labour, and vulnerable to violence, sex rings and even the illegal organ trade.
World Vision Australia’s Head of Emergencies and Humanitarian Affairs, Anthea Spinks said that every day approximately 150 Syrian refugees arrive at Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan, where World Vision provides emergency water and sanitation services.
“The sad reality is that unless more is done, many Syrian refugee children will live their childhoods in refugee camps and will never again experience the normality of school, friends, or even a warm bed,” Ms Spinks said.
Sadly, the escalating situation in Iraq can only mean an even gloomier outlook for the people of Syria and neighbouring countries.
World Vision Australia’s Chief Executive, Tim Costello said that the international community’s slow response to the Syrian refugee crisis means that the human repercussions of the conflict will continue to be felt for years to come.
“The general apathy towards the plight of Syrian refugees is concerning as the crisis is only worsening. The real victims of this war are the children who are being exploited because of their innocence and their vulnerability,” Mr Costello said. “More support is urgently needed to support the 2.8 million Syrian refugees until they can return home.”
World Vision runs extensive aid operations to support Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, including emergency food and water, providing catch-up classes for children and the creation of safe spaces for children to play in order to restore a sense of normality to their lives.
To donate to World Vision Australia’s Syrian Refugee Crisis Appeal call 13 32 40 or go to www.worldvision.com.au/syria
Anthea Spinks is available for interview.
Images are available for media use.
Media contact: Jessica Ciccotelli 0402 971 225 or firstname.lastname@example.org