Former pop queen Britney Spears paid tens of thousands of dollars on pet care, massages, clothes, make-up and nails as part of a $11 million spending binge last year.
Yet aid agencies are scratching around for funding to help millions of children across North Africa and the Middle East in need of emergency humanitarian aid.
Spears is not to blame for their plight, but comparing her riches and life luxury to the hand-to-mouth existence of children surviving in war zones shows the stark difference in economic resources between the haves and have-nots in the developed and emerging nations 21stcentury.
UNICEF has revealed a fifth of children in the MENA region need immediate help to provide basic shelter, food and safety and 90% of them live in areas of conflict.
Children in the front line
Although governments in developed nations do pour millions of dollars of aid into Africa, the Middle East and Asia each year, it’s notable that instant supplies are available in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, but the same response is lacking when children suffer from the ravages of war.
UNICEF says children are often in the front line of barbaric attacks on schools and hospitals and millions have been robbed of their childhoods as conflict disrupts schooling and a peaceful life.
According to the latest UNICEF data:
- In Syria and in neighbouring refugee hosting countries, almost 12 million Syrian children require humanitarian assistance, up from 500,000 in 2012. Around 2 million children living in remote or besieged areas have had only limited humanitarian assistance over the years.
- In Yemen, fighting has destroyed water and sanitation systems, sparking the world’s worst cholera outbreak with over 610,000 cases to date. More than half of Yemen’s health facilities are out of action and water systems have been destroyed, cutting off almost 15 million people from safe water and basic healthcare.
- Across Iraq, more than 5 million children need help as heavy fighting intensified in Mosul and Tel-Afar. They need water, food and shelter and education.
No end in sight to conflict
“With no end in sight to these conflicts and with families’ dwindling financial resources, many have no choice but to send their children to work or marry their daughters early. The number of children affiliated with the fighting has more than doubled” said Geert Cappelaere, the UNICEF MENA Regional Director.
“Children in the Middle East and North Africa have undergone unprecedented levels of violence and witnessed horrors that no one should witness. If violence and wars continue, the consequences- not only for the region- but for the world will be dire. World leaders must do much more to put an end to violence for the sake of boys and girls and their future.”