UNICEF said it would need a full USD 2.8 billion (2.6 billion euros) in 2016 to help millions of children in humanitarian emergencies around the world.

The agency said its annual appeal had doubled in just three years as conflicts as well as extreme weather force growing numbers of children from their homes and expose millions more to severe food shortages, violence, disease, abuse and threats to their education.

By far the biggest chunk of that amount - nearly USD 1.2 billion - is needed for aid in war-ravaged Syria and to help the millions of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, it said.

More than 260,000 people have been killed in nearly five years of brutal conflict in Syria, while more than four million people have fled as refugees and some 13.5 million people remaining in the country are in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

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