Although GOAL's exhibition on the humanitarian cost of the war in Syria has come to a close, the conflict and the killing continues there on a daily basis.
The exhibition, which was open to the public for a three-week period during March in Dublin's St Stephen’s Green, illustrated just some of the numbers that have come to define the impact of the war on the civilian population.
“The United Nations commented recently that there are no words left to describe the horror that has been inflicted upon the people of Syria over the past seven years,” said General Manager of GOAL, Celine Fitzgerald. “This is why we took the decision to use numbers to remind the public of the ferocious impact the fighting is continuing to have each day on ordinary men, women and children.
Perhaps the most stand-out statistic is the fact that 295 children were killed over the course of the 28 days of February by all forces involved in the conflict, equating to the death of 10 children, on average, each day during the month.
Another statistic showed that approximately 3.5 million children in Syria have now known nothing but war.
“The figures for children are especially depressing, but they point to the stark reality of what is happening on the ground, and how the future of Syria is being so drastically affected,” added Ms Fitzgerald. “More than 50 per cent of Syria’s school-aged children are out of formal education; 6,000 schools have been destroyed in the conflict, and a total of 8.4 million children require humanitarian assistance, 2.4 million of them refugees in neighbouring countries.
Other statistics - which may be more familiar, but no less shocking - include the number of people who have been killed (500,000, including 218,000 civilians); the number of people forced from their homes (11 million); and the number of people who require humanitarian assistance (13 million).
Aid workers also have felt the sharp end of the conflict, with 149 humanitarian professionals killed in Syria during the conflict. This includes four GOAL staff members, who were commemorated as part of the exhibition.
“Despite the stark reality of the numbers, many of them continue to rise on an almost daily basis,” said Ms Fitzgerald. “Syrian people are still being killed, injured, traumatised and displaced. Even if the war were to stop today, the country and its people would take decades to recover.