UNICEF Organisation says one in eight babies were born in conflict zones in 2015

Last year, 16.4 million babies were born into conflict zones, rising this year to 16.6 million, UNICEF said.

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A woman pushes a baby stroller as she rushes away after what activists said were airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on a busy marketplace in Douma, near Damascus, Syria August 12, 2015. play

A woman pushes a baby stroller as she rushes away after what activists said were airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on a busy marketplace in Douma, near Damascus, Syria August 12, 2015.

(reuters)
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The number of babies born in conflict zones increased by more than 125,000 this year to 16.6 million compared with last year, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

The figure translates to one in eight of all births worldwide in 2015, according to data released by UNICEF.

"Can there be a worse start in life?" said Anthony Lake, UNICEF's executive director.

Protracted civil wars have put civilians at risk in a slew of countries including Syria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

Last year, 16.4 million babies were born into conflict zones, rising this year to 16.6 million, UNICEF said.

One of those babies was a boy named Dilgesh, born to Syrian asylum seeker Nahide, age 19, UNICEF field worker Christopher Tidey told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

Separated by the war from her parents, the young mother and her 7-month-old son traveled by themselves through Turkey, he said.

"I was really kind of in awe of this person, the inner strength that she has," he said.

Children born in war are apt to suffer unhealthy emotional and cognitive development and are more likely to die before age five than are children born elsewhere, UNICEF said.

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