UNICEF: Migration crisis will worsen unless more effort made to end Syrian conflict

Listen /

A boy stands outside a building damaged during fighting in Aleppo City, Syria. Photo: OCHA/Gemma Connell

The refugee and migrant crisis in Europe will only worsen unless greater action is taken to end the Syrian conflict and address the humanitarian needs of those affected by the violence.

That warning comes from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which says 16 million Syrians need assistance, nearly half of them children.

Dianne Penn reports.

Syrians are risking their lives to flee to Europe because they have no other option, neither do they see any future for their children, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday.

Peter Salama , UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said every Syrian he has spoken to has stated that they would stay in their homeland if they felt safe.

More than four million people—half of them children— have left since the conflict began nearly five years ago, according to UNICEF.

European Union data shows that Syrians now make up the largest group of refugees arriving on the continent.

But, UNICEF said that as efforts are stepped up to address the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe, countries bordering Syria still require support.

Turkey, for example, is hosting nearly two million Syrian refugees. Meanwhile Lebanon, which has a population of just over 4.4 million, is accommodating more than a million.

A UNICEF appeal for Syria and surrounding countries is less than half funded.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’18″

Human Rights