Unicef launches appeal of $3.3 bn to children affected by conflict, disasters


United Nations, Feb 1: The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched an appeal of $3.3 billion to provide emergency assistance in 48 countries around the globe, against the backdrop of children driven from their homes due to conflict, disasters and climate change.

A total of 48 million children living through some of the world’s worst conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies will benefit from Unicef’s 2017 appeal, which was launched on January 31, Xinhua news agency cited a UN press release.

“From Syria to Yemen and Iraq, from South Sudan to Nigeria, children are under direct attack, their homes, schools and communities in ruins, their hopes and futures hanging in the balance,” the press release noted.

“In total, almost one in four of the world’s children lives in a country affected by conflict or disaster,” it added.

The UN agency fears that an estimated 7.5 million children will face severe acute malnutrition across the majority of appeal countries.

Unicef’s Humanitarian Action for Children sets out the agency’s 2017 appeal and its goals to provide children with access to safe water, nutrition, education, health and protection in some of the world’s worst conflicts and humanitarian emergencies.

The largest single component of the appeal, or $1.4 billion, is for children and families caught up in the conflict in Syria, which will soon enter its seventh year. This also includes Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.

With enough funding, Unicef hopes to reach 81 million people, including 48 million children with access to safe water, nutrition, education, health and protection.

Unicef is particularly concerned about another slow-burning threat — malnutrition.

“Malnutrition is a silent threat to millions of children,” Fontaine said. “The damage it does can be irreversible, robbing children of their mental and physical potential. In its worst form, severe malnutrition can be deadly.”