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UN issues Iraqi children aid plea
by Al Jazeera (reposted)
Saturday Dec 22nd, 2007 12:54 PM
Saturday, December 22, 2007 : Unicef says millions suffer from poor nutrition, education, disease and violence.
Iraqi children have suffered from the violence that has gripped Iraq [EPA]

The United Nations has called for immediate action to assist about two million Iraqi children affected by poor nutrition, disease and disrupted education. "Iraqi children are paying far too high a price," said Roger Wright, Unicef's special representative for Iraq, in a statement. "We must act now."

Unicef, the UN's children's fund, said young Iraqis were also getting caught up in violence, with hundreds killed or injured. An average of 25,000 children a month have fled violence or intimidation this year, with their families seeking shelter across Iraq, Unicef said.

Only 28 per cent of Iraqi 17-year-olds have sat their final exams, while safe drinking water for children remains scarce, according to the UN. About 1,350 children were detained by the authorities in 2007, the UN said. The number of primary school age children not in education in 2006 was 760,000, but this figure has grown over the past year as more displaced children had their schooling disrupted, the UN said.

New opportunity

Despite the urgent needs of Iraqi children, Unicef received only $40 million towards its $144 million appeal for Iraq this year, Veronique Taveau, a Unicef spokeswoman, said in Geneva

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