One in four Iraqi children are in poverty and 4 million in need of assistance as a result of the country’s war with Isis, the United Nation’s children agency (Unicef) has warned.
There were 150 attacks on education facilities and 50 attacks on health centres and personnel since 2014, it said in a statement. Half of Iraq’s schools need repairs and more than 3 million children have had their education interrupted, it said.
Iraq is seeking $100bn (£72bn) in foreign investment in transport, energy and agriculture as part of a plan to rebuild parts of the country and revive the economy after declaring victory over Isis in December.
The country has now regained all of the territory captured by the militants in 2014 and 2015.
“Children are Iraq’s future,” Geert Cappelaere, Unicef’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said.
He added that a conference in Kuwait about the rebuilding of Iraq was “an opportunity for world leaders to show that we are willing to invest in children – and through investing in children, that we are willing to invest in rebuilding a stable Iraq.”
Across Iraq, Unicef has supported local authorities to rehabilitate 576 schools and has provided school supplies to 1.7 million children. The organisation recently appealed for $186m to allow it to respond to the needs of Iraqi children throughout 2018.
In a recent statement, Mr Cappelaere said that during last year alone “270 children were killed”, while more than 1 million children had been “forced to leave their homes”.
The United States, which leads an international coalition that provided Iraq with key air support in the fight against Isis, does not plan to contribute any money at the Kuwait conference, US and Western officials said.