Children are at greater risk of dying from severe burns than adults. They suffer terrible disabilities from burns which, without the correct medical, surgical and psychological interventions, they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. If they survive the initial injury they are at risk of life-threatening infections.
The long-term consequences of inadequate or inappropriate treatment can lead to disfigurement, exclusion and vulnerability. They often require a succession of skin grafts to restore mobility. The management of burns in developed countries has improved vastly over the years leading to better outcomes for burns patients. However the provision of burns care in many conflict zones is basic and limited, often with no specialists. The sad medical fact is that the younger the child and larger body surface area covered in burns, the lower the survival chance. This is further worsened by having a lack of access to appropriate paediatric support and intensive care facilities.
The weaponry used in conflict zones can cause horrific burns through blasts and explosions. Some weapons are designed to burn - such as thermal incendiary devices. These are currently being used in Syria. There has been mounting concern about how current wars have significantly affected children in particular which has led to the formation of an All Party Parliamentary Group on Protecting Children in Armed Conflict in conjunction with War Child.
However it is not just bombs that burn. During wars vast numbers of people become displaced as they seek safety. Many end up in refugee camps living tents, often made of highly flammable materials. A number of tragic burns cases in children have been as a result of candles, heaters and cookers being used in tents.
We have carefully chosen the name The Phoenix Foundation – in order to honour the brave young people who survive - to give them our hand in support and hope as they rise from the ashes.