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Racing against time for children in South Sudan: IKEA Foundation supports UNICEF

2014-03-28

GENEVA, 28 March 2014 – The IKEA Foundation today announced a contribution of Euro 1 million to UNICEF in support of its efforts to scale up the emergency response in South Sudan ahead of the imminent rainy season.

The coming rains in South Sudan will exacerbate the plight of the hundreds of thousands of children displaced by the conflict in the country, and demands an urgent response to meet their needs. Children are always the most vulnerable during times of crisis and UNICEF is working with partners to rapidly respond to the needs of those affected and to help keep children healthy and safe during this critical period.

As the rainy season is rapidly approaching, the world has a small window of opportunity to position life-saving supplies to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. IKEA Foundation’s funds will be critical to pre-position supplies and strengthen services ahead of the rains, and to reach displaced communities before it is too late.

The donation of Euro 1 million will support UNICEF’s emergency response plan as it scales up its operations to protect the health and ensure the safety of children displaced by the conflict.

UNICEF’s emergency response plan includes vaccination campaigns and providing essential therapeutic nutrition supplies. In addition, the funds from the IKEA Foundation will go towards protecting children from being recruited into armed groups and establishing spaces where children can learn and play in safety. 
 
Since the start of the hostilities in South Sudan on 15 December, an estimated 900,000 people, over half of them children, have been forced to flee from their homes. Thousands of people have taken refuge on low-lying land which is prone to flooding during the rainy season. Children and their families will be increasingly vulnerable to many dangers including the risk of diseases such as measles and diarrhoea, and threats to their physical safety.

“We are enormously grateful to the IKEA Foundation for this latest contribution to support children affected in South Sudan. This donation comes at a critical time and will be fundamental in helping the many children whose lives have already been so traumatically disrupted by the conflict”, said Leila Pakkala, UNICEF Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships.

In addition to helping kick start the emergency response, the IKEA Foundation’s support provides an inspiring example of partnerships that can help to significantly scale up UNICEF’s humanitarian relief efforts.

Canadians can help by donating to UNICEF's Emergency Fund.

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About UNICEF
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

About IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and sustainable family income. Currently-funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children by 2015. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org and www.facebook/IKEAfoundation

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.