$20 million needed for relief efforts in Libya and neighboring countries

UNICEF has appealed for $20 million for humanitarian operations to address the needs of children and women inside Libya, as well as those who have fled to neighboring countries. Over the past three months, nearly 800,000 people have fled Libya into Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan. As of mid-May, more than one million people may have been affected by the conflict and need some form of humanitarian assistance.

NEW YORK (May 20, 2011)—UNICEF has appealed for $20 million for humanitarian operations to address the needs of women and children in Libya, as well as those who have fled to neighboring countries. 

"The more protracted the Libyan crisis becomes, the more the humanitarian situation of women and children will be of urgent concern," said Shahida Azfar, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Over the past three months, nearly 800,000 people have fled Libya into Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan. As of mid-May, more than one million people may have been affected by the conflict and need some form of humanitarian assistance.

UNICEF has responded to the needs of hundreds of families in displacement camps on the Libyan borders by providing safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, and by making sure that children's protection and health needs are met.

UNICEF has also sent three boats to Misrata filled with life-saving supplies and emergency health kits to eastern Libya.

However, as the fighting inside Libya continues, the needs are becoming greater.

A significant part of UNICEF's planned operation in Libya is a $3 million education program that seeks to secure children's right to education. UNICEF will work with partners in Libya to provide nation-wide technical guidance and support as schools reopen.

UNICEF will also work to support the health and education systems in Tunisia to meet the needs of Libyan refugees there.

"Children have been deeply affected by this conflict.  Their rights to learn, to play and to express themselves have been compromised.  UNICEF and partners are working to support the community in their solidarity to create safe spaces for all Libyan children," said Azfar.

This appeal is part of the revised Regional Flash Appeal for the Libyan crisis launched on May 18 in Geneva.

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian aid organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health and immunizations, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency and disaster relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.

UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2008. But still, 22,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood.

For additional information, please contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146,
(m) 646.428.5010, smasur@unicefusa.org
Kiní Schoop, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2634