Hungry and unprotected children: The forgotten refugees

Executive Summary

Forcibly displaced children – both refugees and those who are internally displaced – are amongst the world’s most vulnerable people. Displacement interrupts every aspect of life that other children take for granted – school, home, nutritious food and health care, physical and emotional safety, and protection from violence... the list goes on. Unprecedented crises in recent years – conflict, climate change, and COVID-19 – highlight the interconnectedness and interdependence of global society and the disproportionate impacts on the most vulnerable populations.

Driven by the economic impacts of COVID-19, climate change, and entrenched conflict, the world is now experiencing a global hunger crisis. Conflict displaces populations – internally and externally – affecting safety, finances, households, and further putting children at risk of all kinds of violence. The rise in extreme weather events – both droughts and floods are affecting food sources in the poorest, least-carbon emitting regions – will also lead to even more conflict over dwindling resources. The hunger crisis is being further exacerbated by soaring food, fertiliser, and fuel prices resulting from the Ukraine conflict. For displaced children and their families, who often rely on humanitarian aid, this a catastrophe on top of a catastrophe.

Published annually to coincide with World Refugee Day, World Vision recently completed their 2022 survey of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in 11 countries to understand the risks children are facing and call for action. This year’s numbers challenge the boundaries of belief, as the challenges multiply, and more children become exposed to more risks. For the second year in a row, the majority of refugees and IDPs, who were already finding it hard to make ends meet, have reported a drop in income, and 82% of survey respondents said they were struggling to afford necessities like rent, health care, and food. Forcibly displaced children and their families need help to simply survive.

It is hard to look everywhere at once and connect how a global hunger emergency jeopardises child protection and the futures of millions of children. With the evidence in this report, we urge the international community to include and monitor how their global crisis response decisions will affect the world’s most vulnerable forcibly displaced children and prioritise their welfare. With better informed resource allocation, we can ensure our responses are effective, sustainable, and echo into the next generation.

Source: World Vision