In Lebanon, a Syrian refugee family burns garbage - mostly plastic - to stay warm. World Vision warns that Syrian children are more vulnerable than ever to violence, death, disease, malnutrition, child labour, and lost education. Photo/World Vision
US$275 billion, US$689 billion, US$1.3 trillion. These mind-boggling figures, revealed in a new report released today by aid agency World Vision, highlight how far the persistent and horrifying costs for Syria, its neighbours and its children have risen and will likely rise in the future.
The report, The Cost of Conflict for Children
, a collaboration between World Vision and Frontier Economics, evaluates the economic losses to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey to date and into the future. It estimates that if the conflict continues to 2020, the cost to Syria will be a staggering US$1.3 trillion.
Five long years of the Syrian conflict has left millions of Syrian children out of school, unable to access essential health services and suffering from malnutrition. As numbers of those fleeing violence in Syria rise, needs are outstripping available resources more than ever and families are left facing increasingly desperate choices including entering their children into early marriage and child labour, just to help the family survive.
“The bottom line is peace – it’s the only sustainable solution that will put an end to both the human and financial costs of this conflict. Canada has opened its arms to 25,000 refugees and has been a generous humanitarian donor. Now is the time for Canada to invest in the peace process by offering our diplomatic clout to ensure civilians are protected, humanitarian access is unhindered, and a political resolution is found,” said Michael Messenger, President, World Vision Canada.
“This new research is another way of demonstrating the urgency with which the international community must mobilise its collective diplomatic influence to end this conflict once and for all,” said Fran Charles, World Vision’s Syria Crisis Response Advocacy Director, “It will take decades for Syria to recover. We need peace now so we can start planning for the enormous task of the reconstruction and long-term investment Syria will need to get back on its feet.”
“The numbers showing the impact on the economies of Syria and neighbouring countries are a window into the human suffering caused by this conflict. Behind every dollar figure, every statistic, every percentage, there is a child, a child who can no longer go to school, a child who must go to bed hungry, a child who cannot access the medical treatment they need, and who does not have a proper roof over their head,” said Wynn Flaten, World Vision’s Syria Crisis Response Director.
WORLD VISION’S RESPONSE
World Vision is on the ground in Syria and surrounding countries providing food, health assistance, education, cash assistance, protection for children, clean water, sanitation and items to help families through the harsh winter. World Vision has assisted approximately 2.37 million refugees, internally displaced people and vulnerable host community members affected by the Syrian crisis since 2011.
PHOTOS recently taken in Rajab, an Informal Tented Settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley are available upon request.