From deadly natural disasters to public health emergencies and protracted conflicts, children are facing an unprecedented number of humanitarian emergencies. Some 250 million children are living in countries affected by conflict and crisis, many of them missing out on their rights to education, health, and protection. Nearly 50 million children have been uprooted from their homes, fleeing war, conflict and persecution, or are on the run in search of a better, safer life. And children are increasingly the targets of war — violently attacked at home, at school, and in the street.
UNICEF is on the ground before, during and after emergencies strike, to respond quickly, and help communities build back better. Every year, UNICEF responds to more than 300 emergencies - from conflicts to natural disasters - providing life-saving health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and protection services. Every $1 invested in emergency preparedness returns $2 in efficiency gains that reduce the risk of future disasters. Through its Core Commitments to Children in Humanitarian Action (the CCCs), UNICEF is dedicated to emergency preparedness, response, and recovery that ensures children’s rights are met, even in times of crisis.
Below is a current list of UNICEF's highest level responses. While there are many other emergencies happening around the world, these are considered of the highest propriety for funding, advocacy, and awareness. Please consider engaging your community to support children during a time when they need it most.
Please contact us for more information on how you can help fundraise, build awareness and advocate for children affected by these crises.
Syria Refugee Crisis
Some 2.4 million Syrian children are living as refugees or on the run in search of safety, helping to fuel a global migrant crisis. Syria is now the world's biggest producer of both internally displaced people and refugees. Many children have spent several bitter winters living in makeshift shelters. More than 1 million Syrian refugee children — over 40 percent — are also missing out on education.
Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Over two years ago, the world watched in horror as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya families fled unspeakable violence in Myanmar for safety in Bangladesh. Almost sixty percent of those streaming across the border were children, many giving heartbreaking accounts of parents, family and friends tortured, raped and murdered.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
The humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has deteriorated dramatically over the past year. A surge in violent conflict in the Kasai and Eastern regions has forced more than 2.1 million people from their homes. As of mid-2018, an estimated 12.8 million people were at risk of severe food insecurity and acute malnutrition, representing a 30 percent increase since 2017.
The conflict-driven humanitarian crisis in Yemen is the largest emergency globally, with more than 24.1 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Conflict has led to internal displacement of 3.6 million people, including 2 million children, left millions of public sector workers without salaries for years and undermined humanitarian access to many vulnerable populations.
While the signing of a peace agreement in September 2018 formally put an end to the conflict in South Sudan, the humanitarian situation remains dire. The multidimensional crisis is characterized by continued violence, severe food and nutrition insecurity, economic upheaval and disease outbreaks. Over 4.5 million people have been uprooted, including 2 million people who are internally displaced and 2.5 million people who have taken refuge in neighboring countries.
Violence and conflict-related displacement have increased dramatically in Nigeria over the past decade. In the three most directly affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, 7.1 million people require humanitarian assistance, including 4.2 million children and 1.8 million internally displaced persons, more than half of whom are children.
More than 6.7 million people in Iraq, including 3.3 million children under 18 years, will need humanitarian assistance in 2019. Although armed violence has declined, and over 4.2 million people are returning to their homes, 1.7 million people, including 800,000 children, remain displaced.