60,000 babies born to Syrian refugees in Turkey
More than 60,000 babies have been born to Syrian refugee families living in Turkey since the unrest broke out in Syria more than three years ago The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Agency has registered 30,000 babies in 24 refugee camps along border areas with Syria, where newborns are given Turkish identity cards.
The agency, which coordinates refugee relief efforts with NGOs, UNICEF and the World Health Organization, added that another 30,000 Syrian babies born in cities and provincial centers in Turkey.
Although half of the 60,000 babies who fall within the government’s refugee programs become citizens and enjoy commensurate privileges, the other half born on the streets remain destitute.
Syrian babies born in cities are not as lucky as those born in refugee camps, because registration mechanism is almost non-existent and criteria for health services are sorely lacking and haphazard.
The World Health Organization has advised inoculation against polio for all refugees in countries adjacent to Syria.
However, the inoculation program was criticized in Istanbul, home to an estimated 100,000 refugees.
While the exodus to Turkey continues unabated, the population of newborns to Syrian refugee mothers also increases day by day.
Turkish authorities put the number of Syrian refugees in the country at nearly one million, a figure projected to rise by the end of the year to 1.4 million.
According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), women and children constitute 75 percent of refugees in Turkey.
More than 192,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions of others displaced in Syria since March 2011.