The United States just announced The No Lost Generation initiative, to rally the world to save Syria’s children. They have suffered through three years of the Civil War.
There are 5 million children, at least, who are impacted by the conflict. Many have been uprooted from their homes. Their communities are now in rubble. They are scared, ill and hungry. Others have fled with their families to neighboring countries. The scars they cannot leave behind.
Some children have died from malnutrition or illness. One father carried his sick child across the border hoping he could get help. It was too late.
For others it’s not too late. Millions of children need aid from relief agencies including the World Food Programme (WFP), Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, the UN Refugee Agency.
But funding is so low that WFP, for example, had to cut food rations recently for the war victims. The UN food agency is trying to feed over 7 million hungry Syrians. The international community has to step up and provide the humanitarian aid while trying to end this war.
UNICEF, which has provided clean water to around 10 million Syrians, is another agency low on funds for its life-saving operations.
It’s hard enough for relief groups to find ways to bring aid through conflict zones. Many areas are blocked off by the fighting. They have to try and negotiate access. Sometimes airlifts, which cost more, are used to bring in food, water and other supplies. It’s tragic enough that some areas are not reached for months at a time. What a further tragedy if aid groups find they have no supply line of aid because funding was so low.
This is one of the largest conflicts and humanitarian disasters of our generation. How we respond will have an impact for years to come. As Dwight Eisenhower warned after World War II, hungry and suffering children cannot be expected to become apostles of peace.
The Middle East, especially, needs those peacemakers. Nancy Lindborg, of the U.S. Agency for International Development, says, “This is a region that can ill afford to lose a generation to despair; rather, it needs children who can help drive forward a future of peace, not continual spirals of conflict.”
Our world is not at peace. We have to be peacemakers and bring relief to the suffering. This holds true for Syria and other countries where there is need. Everyone, in a sense, can play a role. Everyone can support humanitarian aid in Syria and encourage the diplomatic efforts to end the war. Use your voice to save a generation.