In Just This One Refugee Camp, 40,000 Syrian Children Live in Need
A majority have lived through traumatic experiences
The cost and consequences of war fall heaviest on the most vulnerable — children, the elderly and the disabled. That’s true in every conflict. But in Syria, the biggest difference is the sheer scale of those killed, “disappeared” or displaced.
More than eight million children are in need of humanitarian assistance, two million of whom have fled Syria, according to UNICEF.
“The majority of children here have been through experiences that no child should ever have to live through,” Toby Fricker, a UNICEF representative at the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, told War Is Boring.
Around 40,000 children live in the camp. Providing water, food, shelter and education is an enormous challenge. The trauma of war erodes faith in other human beings. “And, with that comes fear, mistrust,” Alaa Zaza, a child psychologist, said.
“They don’t trust the adults. They don’t trust their friends.”
The violence tears apart families … and structures. See the pattern? Basic skills — such as reading, writing and mathematics — erode. Making matters worse, lack of trust undermines the very foundation of society, which these children will one day inherit.
In Za’atari camp, UNICEF has set up schools and child-friendly centers, the aim which is to establish regular routines. That can address some emotional wounds. But the scale of the crisis is far too large for international institutions — they can’t rescue everyone — and millions of people remain in hard-to-reach places inside Syria.