NEW YORK, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The United Nations Children's Fund released a report Monday calling 2014 a particularly "devastating year" for children worldwide.
The UNICEF report said millions of children suffered due to worsening conflicts across the globe, resulting in a variety of atrocities.
"This has been a devastating year for millions of children," said Anthony Lake, UNICEF executive director. "Children have been killed while studying in the classroom and while sleeping in their beds; they have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves. Never in recent memory have so many children been subjected to such unspeakable brutality."
Up to 15 million children were affected by violence in the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, the state of Palestine, Syria and Ukraine in 2014, the report said. Worldwide, about 230 million children live in countries where there are armed conflicts.
"The sheer number of crises in 2014 meant that many were quickly forgotten or captured little attention," the report said. "Protracted crises in countries like Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, continued to claim even more young lives and futures."
In response, UNICEF said it is working on a campaign to return 662,000 children back to school in the Central African Republic, about 68 million doses of polio vaccine were delivered to countries in the Middle East, more than 70,000 children were treated for severe malnutrition in South Sudan, and care centers were set up in countries where the Ebola virus has killed thousands.