A young man carries a UNICEF-branded emergency box.
A young man carries a UNICEF-branded emergency box.

Our emergency response

when a disaster strikes

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Rapid emergency response, long-term support

When war breaks out or disaster strikes, children can lose their schools, their homes and their families. They may also see their access to water, food and shelter put at risk. All of this can leave them more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation as they fight to survive. Therefore, it is essential we respond quickly.

We work as hard as possible to ensure they have the best chance to survive and thrive. We have a presence in 190 countries and operate the world’s largest humanitarian warehouse network. This means when an emergency happens, we can kick-start a response straight away. Acting fast gives us the best possible chance at reaching children and families with supplies and protection.

But a crisis is only a moment in a child’s life—it doesn’t have to define it. As part of any emergency, a priority is to ensure that communities can recover as quickly as possible. We set up temporary classrooms to make up for lost teaching time and work alongside families and governments. We want children to thrive whatever their circumstances.

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Our recent work in emergencies around the world

A young girl smiles and holds up her little finger, which has been painted purple to indicate she has been vaccinated.
An inked finger is the sign of a vaccinated child—a symbol of protection. In Yemen, we facilitated over 3.4 million vaccine doses for children between July and September 2023.
12-year-old Asma smiles outside a child-friendly safe space.
Children who live in conflict and post-conflict zones, like Asma in Syria, naturally need places they can feel safe and able to learn. UNICEF provides psycho-social support in child-friendly spaces which give children the tools to overcome their fears. In 2023, our mental health related activities reached 559,352 children in Syria.
A mother receives guidance on sanitation and water cleanliness from a health worker as part of our emergency response.
We know families are a child's first and best line of protection. That's why we're we're working with displaced families in Sudan to provide nutrition and WASH support. In 2023, close to 313,400 children with severe acute malnutrition were admitted for treatment by UNICEF in Sudan.

Icon, graphic: tap, clean water, hygiene, sanitation

In 2022, over 30 million people got access to safe water as part of our emergency response

Learn more about WASH

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Our Emergency Response in Sudan

The war in Sudan has been catastrophic for children. The violence has forces 4,6 million children from their homes and 13.6 million—more than half the children in the entire country—are currently in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

That’s 13.6 million children whose rights are not being met. Each has a story to tell—like Samar, who fled Khartoum with her family to Kassala state, where the fighting is less intense. Samar and her family now live in a classroom at a primary school.

One year ago, life was so different for the family of five. Samar attended grade 6 and enjoyed playing the violin. While the war has separated her from the violin, something that saddens her, her love for music and playing continues.

“Before we left Khartoum, we had moved to a relative’s house, and I hadn’t taken my violin with me because we all thought we would return home soon. “I never got a chance to return to pick it,” she recalls as tears roll down her eyes.

Her wish is for the war to end so she gets back her violin. Often, Samar pretends to play the violin as her father sings along, humming and drumming.
While the war has disrupted her life, she won’t let it snatch her love for music.

“The violin is my friend. When I draw, sing, dance, I see the violin.”

UNICEF is scaling up its child protection response in Sudan. So far in 2024, we have facilitated community-based mental health support for over 200,000 children, adolescents and caregivers affected by the war in Sudan.

Help us reach more children in Emergencies

Your gift will go directly to our Children’s Emergency Fund to save and protect children in emergencies around the world.

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