UNICEF is making a big push for Syria’s children in its annual appeal to respond to the world’s most critical emergencies. Nearly 40 percent of the 2014 humanitarian action appeal is designated as aid for children in Syria and the surrounding region, an indication that UNICEF is redoubling its efforts to ensure that Syria’s traumatized children do not become a “lost generation.”
More than 5 million children are affected by the conflict in Syria, and UNICEF is responding to the needs of an estimated 23.7 million children in the region—child refugees and children in their host countries. UNICEF is providing educational, psychosocial and protection in addition lifesaving aid.
South Sudan and Central African Republic are other conflict areas are of particular concern. Reports of atrocities, conscription and targeted violence against children have escalated with the recent violence in both countries. Children are also subject to violence in Afghanistan, where attacks against children rose 30 percent in 2013.
Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programs, notes that while the 59 million children living in emergency conditions require immediate lifesaving aid, with enough support, UNICEF and its partners “can change the lives of children for the better.
In addition to man-made emergencies, other so-called silent emergencies need the world’s attention, Chaiban said. He called on increased funding to respond to cholera in Haiti, malnutrition in the Sahel region of Africa and a lack of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation in Yemen.
UNICEF is also working to help children who are at risk in natural disasters, particularly in places that are vulnerable to extreme climate conditions. In addition to recovery after Typhoon Haiyan, UNICEF is working on emergency preparedness in the Philippines. Severe drought affects millions in Angola and Namibia, where UNICEF and partners are providing water and sanitation and fighting malnutrition.