Thursday, 20 March 2008

The war five years on: The mainstream media tells us Iraq is a more stable place, but UNICEF says otherwise...

Childhood in Iraq is more precarious than ever. Tens of thousands of children have lost parents and other family members due to violence. Some 600,000 children are among the 1.2 million Iraqis to have been displaced over the past two years with most families being unable to return home.

Conditions for displaced children and the communities hosting them are worsening. The increasing numbers of displaced families are creating an overwhelming demand for basic services. Most displaced families are living in communities that are already poor and often also badly affected by violence and insecurity.

Children’s education is also being compromised. Many schools suffer from overcrowding and are now forced to hold multiple shifts. Displaced children are less likely to stay or complete the school year.

Most children have experienced stress at various levels, with fear and anxiety becoming a major concern. From the remote marshlands of southern Iraq to the unstable cities around Baghdad and the mountains of the Kurdish north, children’s stories reveal the damage inflicted by conflict.

UNICEF is working across Iraq, delivering humanitarian assistance even in the most insecure areas.