A boy sells baked goods on the streets of war-torn Aleppo, Syria. Unicef/2016/Zayat

War and conflict

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Children left vulnerable by war

From Syria to South Sudan to Yemen, war and conflict put millions of children in terrible danger. They face losing their homes, their families, even their lives.

Torn from everything they know, they’re left vulnerable to many other dangers, from disease and malnutrition to violence and exploitation.

Saja, 12, is one of these children. She remembers a time before the war in Syria began: “It was safe to go out. We wouldn’t worry if something was going to happen. Life was really beautiful”. Then the bombs started to fall and took the lives of her friends. Saja, a budding gymnast, lost her leg.

Yet against all the odds, children like Saja don’t give up. “It’s a struggle but what else can you do?” said Saja.

Our work helps children like Saja to rebuild their lives, gain access to education and have the opportunities that all children should have.

Saja, 12, lost her leg in a bomb attack in Syria.

 Facts about war and conflict

  • One in 10 children now live in conflict-affected areas (an estimated 230 million children)
  • In South Sudan, around 13,000 children have been recruited and are being used by all sides of the conflict, putting their lives at risk and changing their futures forever
  • In Syria, one in five school children are forced to cross lines of fire just to take their exams
  • In Yemen, at least 466 children have been killed since the conflict intensified this year – more than four times the number of children killed during the whole of 2014.

What does Unicef help children during conflict?

Our Children’s Emergency Fund means that we can respond quickly to help keep children safe when a conflict breaks out. Unicef staff provide life-saving food, clean water, medicines, protection and psychological support to children whose lives have been devastated by the effects of war and conflict. In 2014, we supported more than 8,000 boys and girls released from armed groups, helping them reintegrate back into their communities.

But we need your help to continue to be there for children in conflict emergencies.

Help keep children safe when an emergency hits

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