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Children, almost 7 million will end up 2020, far away from their homes, risking their lives for the cold
the ROME - Europe, Middle East and Asia in the grip of the cold: there are about 6.9 million children forced to conclude this year by displaced persons, far from their homes, in tents, read, shelters inadequate or even in the open, risking life because of the lowering of the temperatures that have already dropped to below zero. It is the alarm launched by Save the Children. the international Organization committed 100 years in the fight to support at-risk children. “Millions of children, " explains Rachael Cummings, head of the medical intervention of Save the Children - they have escaped the terrible conflicts and violence, in search of safety. Yet for some, the harsh winter could be dangerous as the threats that are left behind. During the last cold season, in a matter of few weeks, freezing temperatures and difficult conditions they have killed only in Syria fifteen children who had fled from the conflict”

The situation in Syria: the story of Hamida. In Syria, 2.6 million children are displaced because of the nearly nine years of conflict, uninterrupted. Although it is a complex situation that differs according to the different areas of the Country, before the recent escalation in the fighting in the North of the Country, 14% of the displaced families were forced to live in places dilapidated, the fields too large, and other shelters, many of which are without electricity, where it is almost impossible to guarantee the health of the children. For example, the field of Areesha, in the North-East of Syria, is seriously overcrowded, and the floods are repeated in the winter have aggravated the situation of already compromised families, many of which are due to escape from the conflict several times. “I had to move fifteen times within this field during the past winter, - tells to the operators of Save the Children Hamida*, 40 years old, a mother of seven children - the entire field is flooded, the tent is soaked in water and the ground has turned into a swamp. My children had adequate clothing, we had no heating and even the wood to light the fire. We are frightened by what is coming, we are really afraid of the rain. Many of the children have lost their lives last winter in the cold and the floods”.

In Lebanon in the fields of the Bekaa . The syrian conflict has also forced 2.5 million children to flee to other Countries which may reach temperatures very cold in the next few weeks or in the next few months. In some parts of the Lebanon, the temperatures fell suddenly in the last few days. Children living in the camps of the Bekaa valley are weakened by the storms, such as those that have hit the Country in January 2019. The shelters have flooded, wetting and damaging the few precious possessions of the family and leaving them at risk of hypothermia.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, lives in the container. similar Situation for the refugees who, fleeing from violence and conflict, you are on the route of the balkans: more than 28,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina this year and more than 8,000 are still in the country, which has already been hit by heavy snowfalls. Many of them, including children, occupy disused buildings and burn plastic to keep warm or staying in the empty container. Among them, Jakey*, 15, fled without his parents from the persecution of the taliban in Afghanistan: living in a shipping container in a former factory without natural light and no heating. “The path during my trip was difficult, it was very cold. I saw that two people have died because of the cold,” said Jakey. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Save the Children has recently helped evacuate the camp, not dignified, icy and snow-covered that it was developed in a former site of waste, which highlights the huge challenge of keeping children safe and warm in environments as chaotic and dangerous.

Afghanistan: - protected from the cold with plastic sheeting. “sometimes, " explains Cummings - sheets of thick plastic only a few millimeters or walls crumbling, abandoned buildings are all that separates the children from the outside while temperatures plummet. Even when families are able to rent a place to stay, it is difficult to find or afford accommodation that protects completely from the cold, from the wind and humidity. Many of the children were crammed together in overcrowded rooms and in winter there are areas that are perfect for the production of the diseases, when the people go out less, and the fumes of fires and heaters clog the lungs of the little ones”, The harsh winters and the makeshift shelters, one reads in the report of Save the Children, which is distributing blankets, clothes and basic necessities - can be fatal. In Afghanistan, humanitarian organisations have reported an increase in mortality in the winter: after 18 years of war, displaced families often live in houses made of clay, without electricity, and they struggle to provide warm clothing or even shoes to their children. Many burn plastic and wood to heat the rooms, mind the temperatures have already reached -5 °C this winter and could fall further.

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