Yemeni Al-Akhdam children Mohammed Huwais/Stringer

Dark Days for Children

The year 2016 will probably be remembered as one of the worst for children since World War II. The surest way to end large-scale suffering is through political solutions to ongoing conflicts; barring that, we need to improve our current humanitarian-response system – and how we fund it.

NEW YORK, STOCKHOLM – The year 2016 will probably be remembered for military and political events, but it should also go down in history as one of the worst years for children since World War II.

Images of dead, injured, and distraught young children filled the media on an almost daily basis: a small boy sitting stunned and bleeding after his home was bombed; small bodies being lifted out of rubble; and small graves on the Mediterranean shoreline that mark the deaths of unknown children.

These images are powerful and uncomfortable. And yet they cannot capture the magnitude of children’s suffering. More than 240 million children are living in conflict zones – from the killing fields of Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and northern Nigeria, to less well-documented but horror-stricken areas of Somalia, South Sudan, and Afghanistan. And of the 50 million children who live outside their own countries or have been internally displaced, more than half have been forcibly uprooted, and are facing new threats to their lives and well-being.

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