(JNS.org) A senior United Nations official on Wednesday said millions of Iraqi children are at risk of becoming a “lost generation” due to persecution by the Islamic State terror group.
“We’re at risk of losing a generation through the lack of education, health, and protection,” Peter Hawkins, UNICEF’s (United Nations Children’s Fund) Representative in Iraq, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a U.K.-based charity.
“Schools, clinics, water facilities, etc., are deteriorating further and further, which makes the life of children very difficult. [We’re] seeing increasing signs of stunting. Nutrition is becoming a problem,” Hawkins added.
More than 2 million children are out of school, and education has been disrupted by the war for almost 3 million children in Iraq, according to the U.N.
Nearly 14,000 teachers have fled northern Iraqi territory that is now controlled by Islamic State. Almost one in five schools there have been damaged or destroyed, or are being used for other purposes, Hawkins said.
UNICEF and Iraq’s health ministry have vaccinated 600,000 Iraqi children against measles and polio this year, but Hawkins said that progress for providing access to humanitarian aid is “very, very slow.”