Report: Over 10 million children displaced in 2023’s wars

Displacement disproportionately impacted individuals under the age of 18 in Sudan and Somalia.

Two boys in Somalia look into the camera.
Ismail Salad Osman Hajji dirir/Unsplash

According to a new report by Save the Children, a non-governmental organisation that works for the rights and welfare of children, more than 10 million children were forced to flee their homes in 2023 due to the world’s 10 largest crises.

This has likely pushed the number of children displaced globally to more than 50 million, the highest ever, with numbers more than doubling since 2010.

Countries of the victims

The report, titled “Children on the Move: The Hidden Crisis of 2023”, analysed the available data from the 10 largest displacement crises of 2023, which were:

• Sudan: 2.5 million children displaced by conflict, violence, and floods

• Somalia: 2.1 million children displaced by conflict, drought, and locusts

• Syria: 1.8 million children displaced by the ongoing civil war and economic collapse

• Ethiopia: 1.4 million children displaced by the conflict in Tigray and ethnic clashes

• Afghanistan: 1.2 million children displaced by the escalating violence and insecurity

• Yemen: 800,000 children displaced by the humanitarian crisis and the war

• Democratic Republic of Congo: 700,000 children displaced by armed conflict and natural disasters

• Nigeria: 600,000 children displaced by the insurgency and communal violence

• Venezuela: 500,000 children displaced by the political and economic crisis

• Mozambique: 400,000 children displaced by the insurgency and cyclones

Dangers of the crises

The report highlighted the devastating impacts of displacement on children’s lives, such as losing their access to healthcare, education, food, and safety, and being exposed to various risks and threats, such as abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and recruitment by armed groups.

The report also stressed the need for urgent and comprehensive action to address the root causes of displacement, to protect and support the displaced children and their families, and to ensure their rights and dignity.

Gabriella Waaijman, Save the Children’s Global Humanitarian Director, said: “Around the world, one in 73 people are living away from their homes because of forcible displacement, whether it be from conflict or from climate-related disasters, a ratio which has almost doubled in the past 10 years.

“Multiple displacement, where the same child is forced to leave their home again and again, is sadly the norm for many children in places such as Gaza, Syria and the DRC. When children lose their homes, they lose almost everything: their access to healthcare, education, food, and safety. They also lose their childhood, their hopes, and their dreams.”

Call for help

The report called for the international community, the national governments, and the humanitarian actors to take action to address the crisis of child displacement including an increase the funding and support for the humanitarian response and durable solutions for the displaced children and their families. As well as ensure that their needs and voices are prioritized and included in the decision-making processes.

The report added that there is a need to strengthen the protection and assistance for the displaced children and their families as well as provide them with access to essential services, such as health, education, nutrition, and psychosocial support, and with opportunities for livelihoods, integration, and resettlement.

The root causes and drivers of displacement, such as conflict, violence, poverty, inequality, and climate change, and promote peace, stability, and development in the affected regions and countries must be addressed by responsible bodies.

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