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Polio Outbreak In Syria Expected To Worsen; Refugees, Children Need Humanitarian Aid

The polio outbreak in Syria “has grown to 17 confirmed cases, the WHO said last week” and declared a polio emergency in the country, NPR’s “Shots” blog and “All Things Considered” reports. “The Syrian government has pledged to immunize all Syrian children under age five. But wartime politics is getting in the way. And the outbreak is expected to grow,” the blog writes (12/2). In addition, “[a]t least a million Syrians are going hungry, as fighting and checkpoints prevent aid deliveries, the international Red Cross warned on Monday,” Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost reports (12/2). “More than two million Syrians have fled their country’s civil war, now in its third year, seeking shelter in neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq,” according to the Associated Press, which adds, “At least half of the refugees — 1.1 million — are children. Of those, some 75 percent are under the age of 12, according to the United Nations refugee agency.” A “65-page report issued Friday by the UNHCR highlighted the plight of the children, who are growing up in fractured families, missing out on education as they turn to manual labor, sometimes under dangerous or exploitative conditions, the report said,” the AP writes (Surk, 11/29).