"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." That's Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF, explaining why the UN organization has designated 2014 as the worst year on record for children across the globe. "Never in recent memory have so many children been subjected to such unspeakable brutality." Lowlights from the UNICEF report, per the New York Times:
- As many as 15 million children are directly affected by violent conflicts in Africa, the Middle East, and Ukraine. And 230 million are estimated to live in regions where armed conflicts are taking place.
- In the Central African Republic, where 2.3 million children are affected by violence, more than 430 have been killed or hurt and as many as 10,000 have been recruited as child soldiers.
- The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza has left 538 children dead, 3,370 hurt, and 54,000 without homes.
- The Syrian civil war and the rise of ISIS have disrupted the lives of 7.3 million Syrian children and 2.7 million Iraqi children.
- South Sudan's civil conflict has left hundreds of thousands of children displaced, as refugees, or suffering from severe malnutrition.
- West Africa's Ebola outbreak has also left thousands of kids orphaned.
(Read more UNICEF