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With more than one in 10 children living in areas affected by armed conflict, UNICEF launches US$3.1 billion appeal

2015-01-28

TORONTO/GENEVA, January 29, 2015—Today UNICEF released its Humanitarian Action for Children 2015 report on the situation for children in humanitarian crises, revealing that more than one in 10 children are living in areas affected by armed conflict. The report also emphasized that fast-spreading epidemics and natural disasters are exacerbating the vulnerability of children across the globe. In response, UNICEF is launching its largest appeal ever—US$3.1 billion—in order to reach 62 million children at risk in humanitarian crises in 71 countries.

“Never in my three decades working on humanitarian issues have there been so many pervasive crises putting children in the crosshairs of conflict. From Syria and Iraq to South Sudan and the Central African Republic, children are facing increasingly complex and destructive conflicts,” said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. “These children are living through horrors that we can only imagine. They’ve watched parents and siblings be killed, they’ve been recruited as child soldiers and slaves, they’ve been kidnapped, tortured, orphaned and raped.”

“Couple these brutal conflicts with natural disasters and other emergencies, including the Ebola epidemic, and children are now facing a new generation of humanitarian crises that are putting them in extraordinary danger of violence, hunger, disease and abuse,” said Morley.

“We must look forward and realize the impact of these crises on future generations as these children become our leaders of tomorrow—and act now to reach them before their futures become casualties of their circumstances,” said Morley. “Today’s report underscores why we need more resources to reach the most vulnerable children with immediate support that will have long-term benefits. We must ensure that all children—wherever they are—have the opportunity to be healthy, go to school, be safe and envision a future for themselves.” 

This appeal for 2015 is a billion dollar jump in funding needs since last year’s appeal, reflecting the escalation in humanitarian crises affecting children.

UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children 2015 appeal targets a total of 98 million people, around two thirds of whom are children, in 71 countries.

  • The biggest portion of the appeal is for Syria and the sub-region. UNICEF is calling for US$903 million for the regional response to protect children at risk and deliver life-saving assistance like immunizations, safe water and sanitation, and education.
  • UNICEF is also appealing for US$500 million to accelerate its work in the heart of Ebola-affected communities. The funds will be used to scale up efforts to rapidly isolate and treat every case, prevent further outbreaks, and continue to promote healthy behaviours to prevent the spread of the disease. The goal for 2015 is to get to zero cases and support the revitalization of basic social services.
  • In Nigeria, where attacks by armed groups have escalated in the past year causing more than one million people in the northeast to flee their homes, UNICEF is asking for $US26.5 million.
  • A year into the conflict in Ukraine, UNICEF is appealing for US$32.45 million as the country faces a humanitarian crisis with 5.2 million people living in conflict zones, more than 600,000 people internally displaced and some 1.7 million children affected.
  • The appeal also includes hugely under-funded and forgotten crises where children are in desperate need – including Afghanistan (35 per cent funded in 2014), the State of Palestine (23 per cent funded in 2014) and Niger (35 per cent funded in 2014).
  • As well as immediate humanitarian response, funds raised will help UNICEF in its work with partner organizations to prepare countries for future disasters by reinforcing national preparedness systems and equipping communities to help themselves.

In 2014, UNICEF reached millions of children with humanitarian support – including vaccinating 16 million children against measles, treating 1.8 million children for the most serious form of malnutrition, providing almost two million children with psychological support and providing 13 million people with access to safe water. Two million children were also given a better education – a crucial part of UNICEF’s emergency response as it helps restore children’s routine and gives them hope for the future.

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The full Humanitarian Action for Children 2015 appeal and related country information can be found here: www.unicef.org/appeals

Video and photos are available for download here: http://uni.cf/1zwEJ4M

Notes to Editors

The 71 countries and areas featured in the Humanitarian Action for Children 2015 appeal are highlighted due to the scale of these crises, the urgency of their impact on children and women, the complexity of the response, and the capacity to respond.

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.

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.