- Deaths from terrorism increased 80% last year to the highest level ever, with 32,658 people killed, compared to 18,111 in 2013.
- Attacks in Nigeria in 2013-2014 have increasingly targeted schools, and another mass casualty attack on a school occurred in 2014 in Peshawar, Pakistan.
- Nigeria experienced the largest increase in terrorist activity with 7,512 deaths in 2014, an increase of over 300% since 2013.
- 78% of all deaths and 57% of all attacks occurred in just five countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.
- Boko Haram and ISIS were jointly responsible for 51% of all claimed global fatalities in 2014.
- Ten of the 11 countries most affected by terrorism also have the highest rates of refugees.
As we gather with family and friends this Christmas season, we have so much to be thankful for: the health and safety of our family, food in abundance, and the joy that comes from knowing Christ. In other areas, some are not as fortunate.
All around the world we have seen and heard the news of tragic terrorist attacks in Syria, Nigeria, France, Lebanon and elsewhere. Last year alone there were over 32,000 people killed in terror attacks according to the Global Terrorism Index. The majority of these tragic deaths where concentrated in 5 different countries, two of the deadliest countries being Nigeria and Syria.
In these nations, Call of Hope’s frontline workers have witnessed the destruction that terrorism has caused, especially amongst Children. Many of the tragic deaths this year have included large groups of children, but even for those who have survived attacks, they are deeply affected both physically and emotionally. As the Radical Islamist groups Boko Haram and ISIS seek to destroy any that oppose their ideology, it is crucial to pray and be aware of how children are being affected by these forces of evil around the world.
Syria – As the Syrian War and the violence of ISIS have shown no sign of slowing down, abuse of Children is rampant. ISIS is systematically subjecting children to indoctrination and grooming them to become future militants. For those who are fortunate enough to escape war and the sinister intentions of terrorists, they are forced to leave home and relocate in search of peace.
In refugee camps outside of Syria, children are forced to brave freezing winters in makeshift shelters often without proper food or supplies. Many of their parents have been killed in the Syrian conflict, and a peaceful life has quickly changed into a daily struggle to survive. There are no schools for them, no proper shelter, little to eat, and very little hope. In Lebanon, where Call of Hope workers provide relief in refugee camps, half of the 4 million refugees there are children. For these children, everyday is a fight for survival; most do not fully understand why they had to flee or what led them to this point, but they remain grateful for help in times of great turmoil.
Nigeria – In West Africa, another Islamic Militant group, Boko Haram, is terrorizing the country of Nigeria and is in many cases targeting children. In the past year, Boko Haram has been responsible for 7,512 deaths. They have also kidnapped thousands of women and children, like the 200 schoolgirls who were abducted in April of 2014. The attacks of Boko Haram occur on a regular basis and include bombings, shootings, kidnapping, and recruitment of children to join their jihadist fighting force. Children in northern Nigeria have been robbed of their childhood as everyday they fear for their lives. Family members and friends have been victims of brutal terror attacks, and many have only known a life of subsistence living.
As we gather with our friends and family this Christmas, we have so much to be thankful for – a warm home, food to eat, a bed to sleep on, loved ones nearby. In countries affected by terrorism, their reality this season is strikingly different. The children in our lives are blessed with abundance but not every child is as fortunate. This season in order to help these children, we have created Christmas of Hope, designed to give care, comfort and the tangible love of Christ to child victims of terrorsim, please pray for these children and consider giving a gift.