Refugee Children

UNICEF has issued a report which puts the plight of today’s uprooted children as a global crisis in stark perspective. I’ve been reading about children as victims of war, and refugees, and the consequences of the number in several publications I follow. An article by Alexandra Zavis in the 9/19/16 LA Times put it in a way that makes quoting from it readable. The report says 50 million have fled from wars, persecution and poverty.
 About half of the 50 million children driven from their homes is due to conflicts and persecution, the other half is in search of a better life.
 There are 11 million child refugees and asylum seekers. Children in 2015 accounted for one third of the world’s population, but half the refugees. Mostly from Syria and Afghanistan.
 Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees, probably also the largest number of child refugees. In Lebanon one in 5 is now a refugee. In the US it’s one in 1200.
 17 million children are displaced within their own countries, mainly in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan. Not much can be known about them and it’s hard often to reach and help them.
 20 million children are driven from their home because of poverty, climate change and reasons other than war. They often have no documentation, and have no protected legal status making them particularly vulnerable.
 In 2015 the US hosted 3.7 million child migrants. Saudi Arabia hosted 2 million and Jordan 1.4 million.
 100,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum from 78 countries in 2015, they were mainly from Syria, Eritrea, Somalia and Afghanistan and can be easily exploited by smugglers and traffickers
The numbers tells us the magnitude of the problem, but they paint a sad picture for the future. These children with no or very little schooling along with the scars of their hardships face a bleak future. It will be hard for them to earn a living and thus they cast a pall over development , a cloud which is bound to affect many if not all countries. Leaving aside moral, ethical and humane reasons, we need to understand that helping them now has less consequences than not helping them.