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Children in Syria at risk of abuse and exploitation as earthquake leaves hundreds of thousands stranded

  • 1.4 million children were affected by the earthquake
  • Many children are currently stranded outside of their homes and are becoming even more vulnerable to family separation, exploitation and abuse
  • Children also at risk of hypothermia as they struggle to survive in freezing temperatures
  • Children will also be out of school as the buildings are still deemed unsafe

World Vision has warned that children in Syria are at risk of exploitation and abuse, as they have been left without homes and are no longer able to attend school.

Johan Mooij, World Vision Syria Response's National Director, said, “Like many emergency situations that World Vision has responded to in the past, the children in Syria impacted by the devastating earthquake are now extremely vulnerable. In the early stages of a crisis, as emergency actions are undertaken to meet the urgent needs of vulnerable people, safeguarding systems can struggle to develop quickly enough. As a child focused organisation, the safety and protection of children is World Vision’s main priority and will be central in our response to this emergency.”

“In Northern Syria, in particular, the threats of abuse for children were already extreme. The soaring poverty, within a warzone, now devastated by earthquakes, has created an unimaginable number of challenges and suffering for children.”

World Vision is currently undertaking a rapid assessment in both Syria and Türkiye but has also already begun distributing fuel and heat to shelters, so that families can safely stay there and are protected from sub-zero temperatures and other risks outside.

“Humanitarian needs were already extremely severe in Northwest Syria, and this devastating earthquake has added trauma to ongoing crisis there. We call on the international community to prioritise these people, who have already been through so much,” said Johan Mooij.

World Vision is calling for swift and unhindered humanitarian access to the most impacted areas in northwest Syria so that those most affected can be assisted as soon as possible, and for all donors and major stakeholders in the Syrian crisis response to urgently mobilize resources to rapidly meet the most pressing humanitarian and health needs in the first stages of the response, as well as aiding reconstruction efforts in the mid to longer term.

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