UNICEF launches appeal for $805 million for emergency relief
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today appealed to donors for more than $805 million to finance its emergency relief operations in 29 countries in crisis where youngsters are at risk of succumbing to violence, disease and malnutrition.
“Many of the disasters which occurred during this past year have highlighted once again the importance of emergency preparedness for rapid response,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman in the foreword to the agency’s annual Humanitarian Action Report.
“The immediate availability of basic humanitarian supplies and the ability to dispatch them rapidly to populations in affected areas can save many lives in emergencies.”
Of the 29 countries mentioned in the report, Sudan will receive more than $331 million, which at one third of the total is the largest amount of support.
Dan Toole, Director of the agency’s Office of Emergency Programmes, said today in Geneva that the Sudan is the best example of where humanitarian aid can be used to ensure long-term stability in a country emerging from conflict. Sudan suffered more than two decades of civil war before a peace agreement was signed last year.
“Responding swiftly and effectively to crises is an essential part of meeting long-term development goals,” said Mr. Toole. “In many of these countries, children live in an almost constant state of emergency because they are growing up in extreme poverty, without access to education or the most basic health services.”
The report also reminds donors about emergencies which have been largely “forgotten.” Haiti, for example, is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere with 3 million children who are affected by ongoing political instability. Violence, especially in the slums of the capital city Port-Au-Prince, has led to the closure of schools and health facilities. UNICEF needs nearly $6 million to continue and expand humanitarian activities in Haiti.
Emergency relief funds will help UNICEF continue its efforts to improve access to education, treat children suffering from malnutrition, establish safe drinking water supplies and sanitation facilities, protect tens of millions of children against measles and malaria and assist in the demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers, among other essential programmes.