The United Nations today launched a $2.2 billion appeal to help nearly 60 million children in crisis situations, the majority of whom are in and around war-torn Syria.
“Children are always the most vulnerable group in emergencies, facing a high risk of violence, exploitation, disease and neglect,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes.
The UNICEF appeal outstrips its call early last year for $1.4 billion. The appeal was revised in October to $1.7 billion.
The majority of the funds are destined to tackle the impact of the crisis in Syria and the sub-region. Almost 40 per cent. some $835 million, will be earmarked for immunizations, as well as water and sanitation, education, and protection projects.
The UN agency said the aid would also “support the social cohesion and peace-building skills needed to build a more sustainable future”, according to a news release.
Children have been subjected to “unspeakable” suffering in the nearly three years of civil war, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report shared earlier this month with the Security Council. Findings in the analysis show that the Government and allied militia are responsible for countless killings, maiming and torture, while the opposition has been recruiting youngsters for combat and using terror tactics in civilian areas.
The funds will also be used to assist children and families in the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan, a conflict area which Mr. Chaiban just visited and which has displaced more than 400,000 children and their families.
“The rainy season is coming and we need to preposition supplies and reinforce essential services, for which we need urgent funding to prevent a catastrophe,” he said have the resources in place to be able to address the issues like malaria, diarrhoeal diseases and the risk of cholera.
In addition, UNICEF will use the appeal for under-funded crises, Mr. Chaiban including in Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Somalia and Yemen. With partners, the UN agency is also working on address challenges in Angola, Haiti and the Sahel, among others.