A baby was born every two seconds in a conflict zone in 2015, Unicef has revealed. Over 16 million children worldwide took their first breaths into conflict.
The latest figures highlight the risks to newborns, their mothers and migrant children among refugees on the move. "Refugee and migrant flows into Europe remain at an unprecedented high. Among the most vulnerable are small children who require special attention and monitoring," the UN agency said in a statement.
The organisation has presented cases of babies as young as one month old from Syria who have to go through long ordeal of migration as their families journey towards a new life in Europe and elsewhere. Forced to flee Syria, these babies are surviving without proper follow-up care putting their health at acute risk.
The health of the mothers who suffer from lack of aftercare is a grave concern too. Nour Majati, a former psychology teacher who gave birth by caesarean section, had to flee with her newborn son but the transit time for her family has almost doubled since her wounds opened up on their journey, Unicef said. Because of her untreated wounds, Majati is now often ill and her body remains swollen.
"I have been looking for humanity, but much of the time, I cannot find it. I realized that Syrian blood is very cheap," Majati, who is travelling to Sweden, said in a testimony. "The help that we received throughout the journey showed me that there is still a little hope," she said, adding that her family hopes to find "safety, rest, treatment, and education" in Sweden.
Stateless children in Syria
A recent report by United Nations refugee agency UNHCR also highlighted how conflict zones, particularly Syria, have forced millions of children to be born stateless.
Syria's gender-discriminating laws prevent mothers from passing their nationality to their children. This has left many children stateless as they lost their fathers in the conflict before they were born, according to the report.
"The conflict has left some 25% of Syrian refugee households without fathers to help verify nationality, making a birth certificate naming a Syrian father the sole means of proving a child's citizenship in many cases," the report said.