World Vision deeply concerned about the fate of unaccompanied children in Syria

19 Feb 2023 by World Vision
World Vision deeply concerned about the fate of unaccompanied children in Syria

•    The already stretched child protection system in Northwest Syria is inundated with huge numbers of unaccompanied children who have lost one or both parents.
•    Many children are missing identity documents which adds to the challenge of reuniting them with their families.

Aid agency World Vision is deeply concerned about the dire situation of unaccompanied children in Syria following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake nearly two weeks ago.

The already stretched child protection system in Northwest Syria is now inundated with large numbers of unaccompanied children, many of whom have lost one or both parents. 

World Vision New Zealand National Director, Grant Bayldon, says current estimates suggest that more than 2.5 million children have been impacted by the earthquake.

“Our child protection coordinators working in Northwest Syria are telling us that the number of unaccompanied children is rising as each day passes and search and rescue teams continue to find separated children or even babies who were stuck under the rubble following the earthquake. 

“It’s a desperately sad situation as we now try to reunite these children with their wider extended family.  We are even seeing children who have lost family members in the earthquake in Türkiye returning to Syria to reunite with relatives there,” he says.  

According to World Vision staff in Syria, most of the children they are helping are very young, ranging in age from between a few days old to eight years.

Bayldon says most have no identification documents which makes it challenging to reunite them with loved ones.  

He says World Vision is deeply concerned about the serious risk of abuse and exploitation for children separated from their families face in the aftermath of such an enormous disaster.

World Vision Syria Response's Response Director, Johan Mooij, says children in Northwest Syria have already experienced 12 years of conflict, displacement and other trauma.

“Syrian children are again at risk of being forgotten following the aftermath of this unimaginable crisis. They have already suffered more than a decade of war and destruction and now this massive earthquake has added another complexity to their young lives.

“It is urgent that we address the needs of unaccompanied children, to ensure they can still receive the care they desperately need in Northwest Syria,” he says.

World Vision’s protection teams are in Syria now to help ensure unaccompanied or orphaned children get the support and help they need.

The organisation’s child protection centres in Northwest Syria will focus on providing mental health support and counselling for children who need it, in liaison with local partners.

 A recent assessment conducted by World Vision in Northwest Syria found that:
•Nine out ten people had had their homes or shelters affected by the earthquake
•Eight in ten people were taking refuge in collective shelters
•Eight in ten people said the earthquake would impact their children’s ability to access education services.

So far, World Vision’s emergency assistance has reached more than 78,000 women, men and children in Northwest Syria with fuel, heaters, ready-to-eat meals, and health care assistance.

But Mooij says so much more is still needed.

“We are asking for an increase in funding and a scaling up of humanitarian aid dedicated to this emergency, so that we can meet the enormous needs in Northwest Syria. More importantly, child protection must remain at the centre of all our activities. Syrian children need us now more than ever,” adds Mooij.

To donate to the appeal and help provide urgent supplies to children and families impacted by the earthquake, go to