UNICEF Appeals for $2.2 Billion to Help 59 Million Children in Syria and Other Emergencies

UNICEF appealed today for nearly $2.2 billion to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance this year to 85 million people, including 59 million children, who face conflict, natural disasters and other complex emergencies in 50 countries.

NEW YORK (February 21, 2014) – UNICEF appealed today for nearly $2.2 billion to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance this year to 85 million people, including 59 million children, who face conflict, natural disasters and other complex emergencies in 50 countries.

“I have just returned from South Sudan, the latest large-scale conflict to disrupt the lives of millions of innocent children. Over 400,000 children and their families have been displaced by the conflict, and over 3.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. The rainy season is coming and we need to preposition supplies and reinforce essential services, for which we need urgent funding to prevent a catastrophe,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programs.

“The children of South Sudan join millions of others affected by conflict in the Central African Republic and Syria. But while today’s headlines focus on these complex, under-funded crises, many other desperate situations also require immediate funding and urgent humanitarian assistance. These include Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Somalia and Yemen, and other countries reflected in UNICEF’s appeal,” Chaiban said.

UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children 2014 appeal highlights the daily challenges faced by children in humanitarian crises, the support required to help them survive and thrive, and the results that are possible even in the most difficult circumstances. The 50 countries and areas featured in the appeal are highlighted due to the scale of these crises, the urgency of their impact on children and women, the complexity of the response, and the capacity to respond.

For Syria and the surrounding region, UNICEF is appealing for $835 million to deliver life-saving assistance including immunization, water and sanitation, education, and protection; and to support the social cohesion and peace-building skills needed to build a more sustainable future. 

“Children are always the most vulnerable group in emergencies, facing a high risk of violence, exploitation, disease and neglect,” Chaiban said. “But when support is made available, we can change the lives of children for the better. With its partners, UNICEF is working to address a diverse range of humanitarian situations including malnutrition in the Sahel; lack of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation in Yemen; cholera in Haiti; increased attacks on children in Afghanistan; and drought in Angola.”

Funds raised by the appeal will also help UNICEF in its work with partners to strengthen communities’ abilities to cope with future conflict or natural disaster shocks, by reinforcing national preparedness systems and developing resilience among children and communities.

Contributions to UNICEF’s 2014 appeal will allow the organization to build on its work in 2013, a year in which

UNICEF immunized 24.5 million children against measles; provided nearly 20 million people with access to safe water for drinking, cooking, and bathing; provided 2.7 million children with access to education; treated 1.9 million children for severe acute malnutrition; and reached 935,000 children with psychological support.

However, funding gaps in some countries—such as Angola, Eritrea, Lesotho and Madagascar—as well as inadequate humanitarian access, insecurity and a challenging operating environment, meant that many children’s needs were not met.

In particular, UNICEF seeks resources that are not earmarked for specific programs or emergencies. This would allow the agency to respond to underfunded emergencies or where the needs are greatest; to apply innovative solutions to complex situations; and to integrate early recovery programming in large-scale emergencies, many of which affect several countries simultaneously.

To view the The Humanitarian Action for Children 2014 appeal and related country information visit: www.unicef.org/appeals

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About UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org

For additional information, please contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org