UNICEF called it a "devastating year for children" with as many as 15 million caught in conflicts in Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and the Palestinian territories. 230 million children currently live in countries and regions affected by armed conflict.
Executive Director, Anthony Lake, said, "Children have been killed while studying in the classroom and while sleeping in their beds; they have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves. Never in recent memory have so many children been subjected to such unspeakable brutality."
- In Central African Republic, some 2.3 million children are affected by the conflict with up to 10,000 believed to have been recruited by armed groups during the past year and more than 430 killed or maimed.
- Some 538 children were killed and 3,370 injured in the Palestinian Gaza Strip during a 50-day war between Israeli troops and Hamas militants.
- In Syria, more than 7.3 million children have been affected by the civil war, including 1.7 million who fled the country.
- In Iraq, an estimated 2.7 million children have been affected by conflict, with at least 700 believed to have been maimed or killed this year.
- Some 750,000 children have been displaced in South Sudan with 320,000 living as refugees. More than 600 children have been killed and more than 200 maimed this year, while some 12,000 are being used by armed groups.
What can we do as believers?
Pray. Pray for the safety and well-being of children around the world. Pray Psalm 91 for these children.
Give. There are many great organizations such as Compassion International that help children around the world. Consider sponsoring a child.
Go. Is your church taking any mission trips this year? Pray about going and personally ministering to children.
Encourage kids to get involved. Encourage your kids and the kids in your ministry to pray and give. Christmas is a great time to do this. In this post, I share more about how our ministry gives kids the opportunity to help kids in other countries around the world.
Let's pray that this year these precious kids' lives will be full of smiles instead of sorrow