UNICEF is supporting children in humanitarian crises, but more resources are desperately needed. 

Escalating conflicts, disasters, food insecurity, and disease outbreaks have combined to create unprecedented global humanitarian needs in 2024. From Haiti, to the State of Palestine and Sudan, grave violations, violence and devastated essential services are leaving millions of children at risk. Meanwhile, climate shocks, food insecurity, and disease outbreaks have left families from Afghanistan to Democratic Republic of the Congo to Myanmar reeling. 

We know how to reach children at risk and in need of support. Whether it’s through pre-positioned life-saving emergency supplies, safe spaces, or providing psychosocial support, UNICEF is on the ground to assist the families in greatest need, wherever they are. 

But even as the needs have soared, the funding situation is bleak. Here are 5 emergencies that must not be overlooked in 2024: 

Haiti:

A boy sits during an interview with beneficiaries of a clean water programme run by UNICEF in Jeremie, Haiti.
A boy sits during an interview with beneficiaries of a clean water programme run by UNICEF in Jeremie, Haiti.

Political turmoil, civil unrest, increasing armed violence, crippling poverty and natural disasters: A deadly combination of threats continues to jeopardize the survival, safety and well-being of Haiti’s children. Children are being injured or killed in the crossfire of fighting, some even on their way to school. Others are being forcibly recruited or are joining armed groups out of sheer desperation. Communities are being terrorized. Meanwhile, limited access to safe drinking water, affordable food, and basic education and health services, coupled with the resurgence of cholera and malnutrition, is pushing children and their families to breaking point. 

Despite the extremely insecure and volatile environment, UNICEF is working with partners to step up efforts to protect children and families and provide the life-saving support they desperately need. This includes supporting nutrition and health services, responding to the cholera outbreak, promoting safe learning environments, providing psychosocial support and assisting with disaster recovery and preparedness.  

We’re also prioritizing psychosocial support interventions for children, such as providing protection services to victims of gender-based violence, unaccompanied and separated children and those associated with armed groups, as well as strengthening community child protection networks. 

Afghanistan:

A group of girls drink water from a tap installed with UNICEF support in Balkh Province, Afghanistan.
A group of girls drink water from a tap installed with UNICEF support in Balkh Province, Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is home to one of the most crushing humanitarian crises in the world. After decades of conflict, Afghans have been cut off from the global community, left to grapple with economic collapse, climate disasters and human rights violations. The protracted and complex nature of the crises in Afghanistan underscores how critical it is address acute humanitarian needs while simultaneously investing in basic services.

UNICEF, with help from its partners, is working to prevent the collapse of Afghanistan’s healthcare system. This includes paying salaries and providing essential supplies to thousands of health workers and treating children who are at risk of malnutrition. Additionally, UNICEF’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programme is tackling big challenges with small but sustainable solutions. We install solar-powered water pumps that make clean water accessible to entire communities and keep water management safely in their hands.  

Democratic Republic of the Congo: 

A baby is screened for malnutrition by a nurse at a UNICEF-supported health centre in South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A baby is screened for malnutrition by a nurse at a UNICEF-supported health centre in South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Intensifying violence, massive displacement, and the proximity of armed groups to communities are leading to an alarming increase in cases of killing, maiming, and abduction of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Almost 5 million people require assistance as armed conflicts and inter-communal clashes generate unprecedented humanitarian needs.

The crises are also having a significant impact on children’s education and overall well-being. The closure of many schools in the east of the country, for example, is exposing children to protection risks such as recruitment by armed groups and early marriage.

UNICEF continues to provide children with mental health and psychosocial support services and has assisted thousands of survivors of gender-based violence. UNICEF is also supporting children to access formal and non-formal education. We’re providing individual learning kits and maintaining routine and emergency vaccination campaigns to ensure immunization coverage of children.

Myanmar:

A woman cycles past buildings that were badly damaged during Cyclone Mocha in Rakhine State, Myanmar,
A woman cycles past buildings that were badly damaged during Cyclone Mocha in Rakhine State, Myanmar,

Widespread conflict continues to have a devastating impact on children and their families in Myanmar. Grave child rights violations, mainly due to the indiscriminate use of heavy weapons, airstrikes, and explosive ordnance, continue to be reported. Attacks on schools and hospitals have continued at alarming levels. As a result, children and women are at increased risk of violence, exploitation and abuse. Millions of children and adolescents are being deprived of their right to education because their safe access to education has been disrupted.

UNICEF is providing life-saving child protection services for children and families, including case management, psychosocial support and explosive ordinance risk education. We’re also supporting the continued access of crisis-affected children to safe learning environments, including those affected by Cyclone Mocha – one of the strongest cyclones ever recorded in Myanmar, which left a trail of devastation after making landfall in May 2023.

Somalia:

A girl plays with her brother outside their shelter at a camp for internally displaced persons on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia.
A girl plays with her brother outside their shelter at a camp for internally displaced persons on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia.

A once-in-a-century drought in 2023 was followed by El Niño-induced flooding, while displacement, ongoing conflict, and high food prices have combined to leave millions of children in Somalia in need of urgent assistance. 

UNICEF and partners continue to reach hundreds of thousands of children with life-saving treatment services for severe wasting. We’re also providing internally displaced persons and vulnerable host communities with life-saving water and sanitation services, including water source chlorination and hygiene promotion.

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