You can help keep children safe when an emergency strikes. 

When an emergency hits, children's worlds are turned upside down. Many lose their families, their homes, their schools, even their lives. Today, children in places like Syria, South Sudan and Yemen are caught up in violent conflict, with millions forced to flee their homes. Others, in countries such as Nepal and the Philippines, have seen their communities destroyed by natural disasters like earthquakes, typhoons and flooding. 

Join our campaign to protect children in emergencies

Protecting children from violence and abuse is life-saving in wars and disasters, just like water, shelter and medicine, yet it isn’t being prioritised in the same way.

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Facts about children in emergencies

  • One in 10 children now live in conflict-affected areas (an estimated 230 million children).
  • Last year, children made up half or more of those affected by natural disasters (some 50 million children)
  • In 2014 children made up just over half of all refugees around the world – the highest proportion for more than a decade
  • Unicef supported children in more than 290 humanitarian emergencies around the world in 2014.

Our response in emergencies

When an emergency strikes, like the recent earthquake in Afghanistan, Unicef staff respond rapidly. Our emergency specialists assess the immediate need, focusing on children and women. With permanent offices in more than 190 countries, we're well placed to coordinate relief by road and air. Your emergency donations help us to act quickly whenever and wherever we’re needed.

Our international supply division in Copenhagen and regional hubs in other parts of the world mean we can send out emergency aid supplies like water containers, nutrition supplements and mosquito nets, as well as essential education materials rapidly.

Child protection in emergencies

Beyond these life-saving supplies, Unicef offers safety and learning opportunities for children at protected child-friendly spaces and schools. We make sure children's emotional and social wellbeing comes first in an emergency by providing psychosocial support.

In countries like South Sudan, where children have been caught up in conflict and even recruited as child soldiers, we work to release children from armed groups and help them reintegrate with their families and communities. 

How else can I help children in emergencies?

You can help Unicef protect children as soon as it's required, wherever in the world children need us most by donating to our Children's Emergency Fund.

As well as enabling us to reach children as soon as an emergency hits, your donation means we can help families rebuild their lives for the long term, and improve conditions for children.

After Cyclone Pam ripped through the Pacific island of Vanuatu in 2015, donations helped us provide temporary school tents, enabling 30,000 children to return to lessons while their classrooms were being rebuilt.

A Syrian boy wrapped in a blanket sits beside a railroad track near Gevgelija, on the border with Greece. When the world turns upside down, Unicef needs your help to keep children safe. Photo: Unicef/2015/Georgiev
A Syrian boy rests beside a railway track close to the Greek border. When conflict or natural disaster turns a child's world upside down, Unicef needs your help to keep them safe.Photo: Unicef/2015/Georgiev