Enormous risks are faced by mothers and their newborn children in such areas due to lack of medical care and unsanitary conditions alongside the constant danger of living in a conflict zone.
In a video that was released by the charity to accompany the figures, a typical couple are imagined attempting to reach a hospital after a mother goes into labour.
The number has risen by more than 125,000 from last year's figure of 16.4 million to 16.6 million in 2015.
“Every two seconds, a newborn takes its first breath in the midst of conflict, often in terrifying circumstances and without access to medical care,” said Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Too many children are now starting their lives in extreme circumstances – from conflict to natural disasters, poverty, disease or malnutrition. Can there be a worse start in life?”
Children in In conflict-affected countries such as Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen are more likely to die before they reach their fifth birthdays.
There is also the potential to experience extreme, or “toxic”, stress, which can inhibit long-term emotional and cognitive development.
In addition to conflict, several other factors including poverty, climate change and lack of opportunity have forced families to make perilous journeys, as seen in the ongoing refugee crisis.
More than 200,000 children applied for asylum in European Union countries in the first nine months of 2015, adding to the 30 million children across the globe forced from their homes by 2014 due to war, violence and persecution.
More people are displaced now than at any moment since World War II.
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