DAMASCUS, Syria, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Millions of Syrian children caught in the raging civil war suffer severe food shortages, with many dying of malnutrition, a Save The Children Fund report says.
The 24-page report titled "Hunger in a war zone -- the growing crisis behind the Syrian conflict," was published by the London organization ahead of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.
"Children across the country are deprived of the basics for survival. Food is becoming scarce, expensive and risky to access, and efforts to address these challenges are falling dangerously short. Children are already paying the price," the report states.
The United Nations estimates some 4 million Syrians, half of them children, need emergency food assistance. Non-governmental organizations however estimate the figure is much higher, closer to 10.5 million.
As the violence escalates, children dying of malnutrition and lack of medical assistance, the report says.
With many families unable to move, their resources are rapidly running out. Increasing numbers of families rely on humanitarian assistance and cite lack of food as their main concern, the report says.
In cities such as Homs, Aleppo, Idlib and Damascus where violence continues, more than 2 million people are trapped unable to access food, afraid to drink the water and terrified of what may happen if their babies cry.
The devastation caused by the conflict has forced more than 7 million people into poverty, depriving them of income and assets, the report says. More than 2 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries.