David Beckham was visibly emotional when he told the story of a young girl who died during Typhoon Haiyan, in the Philippines in 2013.
Beckham, 40, relayed how when visiting the area in the wake of the typhoon, a father told him how he held his two young girls in his arms, until he was knocked off the roof by a wave.
When he awoke hours later, only one of the girls, Venus, was still in his arms. His other daughter Viana was found “face down and unfortunately she had died,” Beckham explained, while appearing to hold back tears.
Speaking in New York at a UN meeting, Beckham – who has been a Unicef goodwill ambassador for children for the past 10 years, said: “It breaks my heart to see the struggles that children and young people across the world face every day.”
Following his speech the former footballer spoke to journalists about the current refugee crisis and the impact on children.
Appearing to refer to the image of Aylan Kurdi, Beckham told the BBC: “When you see the devastating images that have been out there most recently, they might be refugees but they’re human beings at the end of the day, they’re children. And, as a father, as a parent, you feel how much pressure and how much devastation is going on around these children.”
Beckham said he speaks to his own children about world events, saying: “you have to sit your children down and make them aware of what’s going on around the world”.
He has four children with wife, Victoria: Brooklyn, 16, Romeo, 13, Cruz, 10 and their daughter Harper, 4.
The east-London native is the latest public figure to bring attention to the refugee crisis.
Shakira recently said the images of Aylan Kurdi should “humanise the plight of the refugees”. Angelina Jolie, Bob Geldof and Benedict Cumberbatch have called on governments to do more in the wake of the crisis.
Beckham was at the UN with General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon to launch a digital project which will reportedly deliver personal messages from young people around the globe to world leaders.
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