US$14 million needed to care for children on the move

25 September 2015 – Unicef is appealing for US$14 million to assist refugee and migrant children in Europe, following an 80 per cent increase in the number of children on the move into the continent – many escaping conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

A total of 133,000 children sought asylum in the European Union between January and July 2015 - an average of 19,000 children every month, according to the latest available Eurostat data. One in every four asylum seekers is a child. 

“With so many children on the move, and with winter in Europe approaching, our priority has to be caring for these children now,” said Ms Marie-Pierre Poirier, Unicef’s Special Co-ordinator for the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe. “Working alongside governments and other partners across Europe, wherever our support is needed, Unicef will do all it can so that refugee and migrant children are safe, healthy and that their rights and dignity are fully respected.”  

Amongst the range of assistance covered by the Unicef appeal for the coming 12 months is:

• support for services such as child-friendly spaces at reception centres,

• provision of child health and nutrition information to families,

• support to education and learning programmes, 

• technical support and guidance to government and other partners, in areas such as child rights and child protection, provision of psychosocial support, prevention and response to violence, and protection against trafficking, and

• support and protection to unaccompanied and separated children. 

Unicef is also offering assistance to European governments so that their policies and procedures with regard to refugee and migrant children are always implemented in the best interests of children, and in line with internationally accepted standards.

As the numbers of child refugees and migrants arriving in Europe has increased in recent months Unicef has already ramped up its support in Croatia, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and is offering its support to governments and local partners to identify needs in Greece, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria.

Unicef also emphasizes that its humanitarian programmes in Syria and neighbouring countries, where together some 7.6 million children are in need of assistance, remain seriously unfunded. Of the US$903 million required for 2015, only about half of that amount has been secured so far this year. 

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Notes for editors:

For further information please contact the Unicef UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7375 6030 or media@unicef.org.uk

About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk