Nearly $4 billion needed to protect 41 million children from conflict and disaster

© UNICEF/UN0248372/Watad Children at a school tent in the northern Idlib, Syria. Humanitarian emergencies deprive children of health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education and other basic needs.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Tens of millions of children living through conflict, disaster and other emergencies in dozens of countries urgently need protection, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday, in an appeal for $3.9 billion to support its humanitarian work around the world.

Speaking in Geneva, the agency’s Director of Emergency Operations, Manuel Fontaine, warned that conflict is at a 30-year high: “There’s never been as much conflict in the world in the past 30 years as this year, so it is obviously a particular threat,” he said.

Amid countless reports of deadly attacks on civilians and places of shelter – both of which are prohibited under international law – Mr. Fontaine insisted that the long-held notion that children should be protected above all others is also being undermined.

He said it was “being accepted as a new normal of attacks on schools and hospitals and detention of children,” adding that increasingly, “children are being seen not only as victims, when they’ve been actually recruited by an armed group or used by a particular armed group, but also as a perpetrator and detained once they’ve been released by an armed group.”

A total of 59 countries are to benefit from UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children 2019 appeal, as the agency pursues its goal of providing 41 million children with safe water, food, education, health and protection.

Syria still number one concern

Child protection funding amounting to $385 million includes more than $120 million for youngsters affected by the Syria crisis, whose needs are estimated at $904 million – the largest part of UNICEF’s overall appeal.

“Nearly eight years after the conflict broke out, we still have 2.5 million Syrian children living as refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey where demand for basic services such as health and education outstrip the capacity of institutions and infrastructure to actually respond,” Mr. Fontaine explained, noting that aid was needed for Syrian refugees and host communities.

Asked if he expected a significant number of Syrian families to return to the country, the UNICEF official replied that such a development was likely premature.

“There might be cases of some families, some children who decide they want to go back and we accompany them,” he said. “I think it’s a bit early right now to see how that’s going to happen in practice.”

Yemen: Two million children need food support

Needs in Yemen represent UNICEF’s second largest individual appeal, at just over $542 million, as a fragile and as-yet unimplemented ceasefire deal between Houthi militants and the internationally recognised government over the Red Sea port of Hudaydah continues to cause serious concern among humanitarians.

Nearly four years since conflict escalated, more than 22 million people need humanitarian assistance, including two million Yemeni children who will require food assistance this year. “Projections from 2019 are that nearly 400,000 children will suffer from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition in Yemen during the course of the year,” Mr. Fontaine warned.

 

Other emergency situations include the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a vast country facing a significant escalation of violence and armed conflict linked to terrible rights abuses. An ongoing outbreak of deadly Ebola virus in the east of the country has made matters worse.

“Violations against children include forced recruitment by armed groups and rampant sexual abuse,” the UNICEF official explained. “The insecurity has also seriously hindered the response to the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri and aggravated disastrous malnutrition conditions across the country.”

According to the UNICEF appeal, an estimated 1.4 million children – over three times the number at risk in Yemen – are projected to require lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition in 2019.

Venezuela’s adolescents in dire need of protection

Turning to Venezuela, where 40 people have died in recent clashes between demonstrators and security forces, according to UN human rights office, (OHCHR), Mr. Fontaine appealed for children to be protected.

“We are very concerned about the risk of violence,” he said. “We are obviously calling on everyone to protect children in this particular moment and adolescents in particular.”

The UNICEF official confirmed that an estimated three million people have left the troubled South American country in recent years, and that the agency is “working in the neighbouring countries, in Colombia, Brazil Ecuador and other countries to help the struggling host communities receiving families and children that are crossing the border”.

‘Toxic stress’ last longer than physical wounds

Faced with such unprecedented needs, UNICEF is appealing for funding that can be allocated where it is needed most urgently, not least to under-reported emergencies including the Lake Chad region, where nearly 21 million people in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Niger and Nigeria have been affected by ongoing conflicts.

Despite the challenges, Mr. Fontaine insisted that the agency has been successful in helping vulnerable children, not least those whose mental scars caused by the “toxic stress” of conflict often take longer than physical wounds to heal.

“At the same time, I would say we’ve also made great progress,” he insisted. “It is the behaviour of parties to conflict that actually creates this kind of situation. Should they give us more access, should they give us more ways to protect children and should they themselves respect the sanctity of the protection of children, things would actually go a lot better.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Ambitions are affordable for Asia and the Pacific

How COVID-19 revealed 3 critical AI procurement blindspots that could put lives at risk

Climate change: Direct and indirect impacts on health

JADE Handover Ceremony at the European Parliement

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: updates from the Near East and Libya, Ebola in DR Congo, World War remembrance

Thomas Cook bankruptcy: Better consumer and employee protection needed

Mosquitoes kill more people every day than sharks do in a century

Myanmar companies bankroll ‘brutal operations’ of military, independent UN experts claim in new report

Colombia is a Latin American success story, but must pursue new reforms to achieve stronger and more inclusive growth

Trade Barriers Report: EU continues to open up markets outside Europe in midst of rising protectionism

From a refugee camp to Davos: one Co-Chair’s story

The German banks first to profit from public subsidies of trillions

At UN, Cuba slams US ‘criminal’ practices undermining country’s development

EU makes key TTIP document public as protests get louder

Britain declares trade war on mainland Europe

From his room with a view, UN chief takes to Instagram with an eye on hope and a brighter future

UN climate summit aims to speed up transition to cleaner, greener future

This billion-dollar campaign wants to protect 30% of the planet by 2030

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation procedure into measures in favour of Béziers airport in France and Ryanair

UN report on Syria conflict highlights inhumane detention of women and children

These are the world’s safest cities

‘Regional security and integration’ in Central Africa under threat, Security Council warned

Council’s position on Visa Directive a step back for young people’s mobility

Australia wants to build a giant underground ‘battery’ to help power the nation

Permafrost is thawing so fast it’s gouging holes in the Arctic

A revolution, an ecosystem, an ocean: 5G is just the beginning

3 ways to stop COVID-19 from drying up start-up talent pools

Moving from a promise made in Sweden towards hope for peace in Yemen

Women’s work faces the greatest risk of automation, says new research

Oslo leads the way in ‘Breathe Life’ campaign for cleaner cities in climate change era

Multilateralism more vital than ever, as World War centenary looms: Security Council

EU Budget 2019 to focus on young people

“A sustainable economy, low-carbon, resource-efficient, resilient and more competitive on the global stage”, EU Commissioner Vella in a Sting Exclusive

At UN, Somalia’s President spotlights country’s progress, but cautions eradicating terrorism ‘will not be easy’

Venezuelan crisis: MEPs reaffirm their support for Juan Guaidó

Better protection against non-cash payment fraud

At last a good price for the Greek debt!

EU and China in search of a win-win agreement through strategic cooperation ahead of the EU-China summit

‘A new chapter’ dawns for democracy in Guinea-Bissau: top UN official

ILO: Unemployment to increase by 8.1 million in 2013-2014

Get out, stay out: how financial resilience helps end poverty

Why India can show us how to achieve growth with purpose

LED lights could stop turtles and birds from drowning in fishing nets

A profitability roadmap for the fast-changing automotive sector

Eurozone guarantees all banks with…taxpayers’ money

Would you let an AI vote for you?

ECB to play down IMF’s alarms for deflation danger in the EU

France sneaks into the Geneva US-Iran talks to claim its business share in Tehran

Will CETA be implemented after eight long years or it will be vetoed by the EU citizen?

EU-Turkey relations: Erdogan plays the refugee card while beefing up gas operations in the Eastern Mediterranean sea

Autumn Fiscal Package: Commission adopts Opinions on euro area Draft Budgetary Plans

Afghanistan: top UN official denounces ‘extreme’ suffering of civilians in Ghazni

UN chief hopes for new agreement after Israel concludes international observation mission

Madagascar: UN chief commends leaders, State institutions following ‘historic milestone’ election

“TTIP can boost the European project”; the Sting reports live from EBS 2015 on TTIP

Turning waste into wealth: World Habitat Day focus on cleaning up cities

Attack on Saudi facilities risks dragging Yemen into ‘regional conflagration’: UN Envoy

Dear China

This is what the world’s youngest prime minister said at Davos 2020

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s