More than 730,000 Rohingya, over half of them children, were forced to flee the violence into neighbouring Bangladesh, an exodus of a speed and scale the world had not witnessed since the Rwandan genocide in 1994, said a new report.
“Asia has the largest absolute number of children living in conflict-affected areas at 195 million children. In absolute terms, the highest figures came from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Bangladesh and the Philippines,” the international charity Save the Children said on the eve of Munich's Security Conference.
The report mentioned that Rohingya children have been particularly affected. Children were often targeted for brutal sexual violence and killed and maimed indiscriminately.
“Education Cannot Wait (ECW) programme has launched two ground-breaking multi-year programmes for education for refugees and host communities in Bangladesh...It is critical that donors continue to support its ambitious funding targets and ensure every multiyear programme is fully funded,” the report urged.
The report said more than half a million babies might have died as a result of conflict over the past five years.
That’s an average of more than 100,000 deaths annually – or 300 babies every day.
At least 550,000 deaths of children under the age of one could be attributed to the effects of conflict in the 10 worst-affected conflict zones between 2013 and 2017, the most recent year for which data was available, the organization found.
Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria and Somalia are the countries where children were the hardest hit by the conflicts in 2017. The death toll does not include children killed directly by fighting.
Instead, it estimates the number of infants and young children who may have died from the knock-on effects of nearby conflict, such as starvation, outbreak of disease, damage to hospitals, or delays to aid deliveries.
Starvation, disease and a lack of aid are killing babies in warzones around the world, with the number of children caught up in conflicts nearing a 30-year high, the new report said.
Save the Children said a fifth of all children worldwide - about 420 million - lived in a conflict zone in 2017, 30 million more than the year before and the highest number since 1990.
It said the UN data showed the number of “grave violations” against children -- from sexual violence, armed recruitment and restricting aid -- rose to a record 25,000 in 2017 from 10,000 in 2010.