UNICEF appealed today for almost US$1.4 billion to meet the immediate, life-saving needs of children in 45 countries and regions gripped by conflict, natural disasters and other complex emergencies this year. Funds raised by the annual appeal will also go towards improving disaster preparedness, and to strengthening the resilience of communities to withstand and minimise the impact of new shocks.

“We are still in the first month of 2013, which has already proved harsh for millions of children suffering in Syria and for refugees who had to flee to neighbouring countries. Mali and the Central African Republic are also experiencing worsening conflict, threatening the lives of children and women,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s Director of the Office of Emergency Programmes. “Children are extremely vulnerable in emergencies, often living in unhealthy and unsafe conditions, at high risk of disease, violence, exploitation and neglect.”

The Humanitarian Action for Children 2013 appeal includes countries prominent in today’s news headlines along with many other countries that receive much less media coverage, such as Chad, Colombia, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen, but which also require urgent attention and  assistance.

“The complex emergency in Syria represents one important focus of UNICEF’s global emergency response,” said Chaiban. “But we are also delivering results for children in highly challenging and largely forgotten emergencies around the world.”

More than 85 per cent of the funding requirements are for humanitarian situations other than Syria and the related refugee crisis. The 45 countries and regions in the appeal are priorities due to the scale of the crisis, the urgency of its impact on children and women, the complexity of the response and the capacity to respond.

Contributions to UNICEF’s 2013 requirements will allow the organisation to build on its work in 2012. Some of the results achieved between January through October 2012 include:

Health: 38.3 million children immunised

Water, Sanitation & Hygiene: 12.4 million people provided access to safe water for drinking, cooking and bathing

Education: 3 million children provided access to improved education
Child Protection: 2.4 million children provided with child protection services

Nutrition: 2 million children treated for severe and acute malnutrition
HIV and AIDS: 1 million people provided access to testing, counselling and referral for treatment 
 
In 2012, large funding gaps in some countries such as Madagascar and Colombia left many needs unmet. In many countries, access, security and the capacity of partners are other major constraints to delivering humanitarian assistance.

“Contributions to the appeal are sound investments in children and their futures,” said Chaiban. “UNICEF seeks un-earmarked resources to allow the organisation to respond to consistently underfunded emergencies or where the needs are greatest, to apply innovative solutions to complex situations, and to integrate early recovery in large-scale emergencies – many of which extend across multiple countries at the same time.”

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To download the full Humanitarian Action for Children 2013 Report, please click here: www.unicef.org/appeals

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Ju-Lin Tan, UNICEF UK, 020 7375 6030, julint@unicef.org.uk

About UNICEF

UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights in more than 190 countries. As champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF works to help every child realise their full potential. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN budget. For more information, please visit www.unicef.org.uk