UNICEF appeals for $3.9 billion in emergency assistance for 41 million children affected by conflict or disaster Millions of children without access to critical child protection services


UNICEF appeals for $3.9 billion in emergency assistance for 41 million children affected by conflict or disaster Millions of children without access to critical child protection services

On 10 December 2018 in the Syrian Arab Republic, children in Douma, East Ghouta. The siege on East Ghouta, including Douma city, was lifted in April 2018 after almost seven years of besiegement and conflict.  Douma is home to the largest population in East Ghouta with more than 250,000 people living amidst large scale urban destruction, wide contamination with explosive remnants of war and limited access to essential services.

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore is visiting the Syrian Arab Republic from 8-13 December 2018. In Douma, East Ghouta, just a few months after a seven-year siege was lifted, displaced families are beginning to return and the town’s population is now estimated at 200,000. Many families have moved back into damaged buildings, and the threat of unexploded ordnance is pervasive. Since East Ghouta became more accessible UNICEF, through its partners, is providing a more comprehensive package of services including education, water and sanitation, health and nutrition and child protection.  Since May 2018, 23 children have been killed or injured in all of East Ghouta as a result of explosive remnants of war. There are 20 schools in Douma, all of them need varying degrees of rehabilitation. Such is the level of destruction in the town that a non-governmental partner organization set up an informal clinic, with UNICEF support, in the hall of a damaged mosque. The clinic, one of only six health facilities in the town, and offers vaccination and nutrition services as well as treatment for common childhood diseases.  In Hama, which saw violent fighting between rebels, government forces and extremists before falling back under government control, the UNICEF Executive Director visited a center where young boys and girls learn how to stand up against gender-based violence. On the last day of the trip, Fore visited Deraa, the birthplace of the Syrian uprising, and home to nearly 1 million people. Deraa has seen very high levels of displacement,

© UNICEF/UN0264239/Sanadiki

29 January 2019── Millions of children living in countries affected by conflict and disaster lack access to vital child protection services, putting their safety, well-being and futures at risk, UNICEF warned today as it appealed for $3.9 billion to support its work for children in humanitarian crises.

UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children sets out the agency’s 2019 appeal and its efforts to provide 41 million children with access to safe water, nutrition, education, health and protection in 59 countries across the globe. Funding for child protection programmes accounts for $385 million of the overall appeal, including almost $121 million for protection services for children affected by the Syria crisis.

“Today millions of children living through conflict or disaster are suffering horrific levels of violence, distress and trauma,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “The impact of our child protection work cannot be overstated. When children do not have safe places to play, when they cannot be reunited with their families, when they do not receive psychosocial support, they will not heal from the unseen scars of war.”

UNICEF estimates that more than 34 million children living through conflict and disaster lack access to child protection services, including 6.6 million children in Yemen, 5.5 million children in Syria and 4 million children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Child protection services include all efforts to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation, trauma and violence.  UNICEF also works to ensure that the protection of children is central to all other areas of the organisation’s humanitarian programmes, including water, sanitation and hygiene, education and other areas of work by identifying, mitigating and responding to potential dangers to children’s safety and wellbeing.

However, funding constraints, as well as other challenges including warring parties’ growing disregard for international humanitarian law and the denial of humanitarian access, mean that aid agencies’ capacity to protect children is severely limited. In the DRC, for example, UNICEF received just a third of the $21 million required for child protection programmes in 2018, while around one-fifth of child protection funding for Syrian children remained unmet.

“Providing these children with the support they need is critical, but without significant and sustained international action, many will continue to fall through the cracks,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes. “The international community should commit to supporting the protection of children in emergencies.”

2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the landmark Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, yet today, more countries are embroiled in internal or international conflict than at any other time in the past three decades, threatening the safety and wellbeing of millions of children.

UNICEF’s appeal comes one month after the children’s agency said that the world is failing to protect children living in conflict around the world, with catastrophic consequences. Children who are continuously exposed to violence or conflict, especially at a young age, are at risk of living in a state of toxic stress – a condition that, without the right support can lead to negative life-long consequences for their cognitive, social and emotional development. Some children impacted by war, displacement and other traumatic events – such as sexual and gender-based violence – require specialized care to help them cope and recover.

The five largest individual appeals are for Syrian refugees and host communities in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey (US$ 904 million); Yemen (US$ 542.3 million); The Democratic Republic of the Congo (US$ 326.1 million); Syria (US$ 319.8 million) and South Sudan (US$ 179.2 million).


Table 1Number of beneficiaries assisted/targeted of UNICEF’s humanitarian action

Key results Results achieved in the first 10 months of 2018 Planned results in 2019
Offers psychosocial support 3.1 million children and caregivers 4 million children and caregivers
Gives access to safe water 35.3 million people 42.8 million people
Provides basic education 5.9 million children 10.1 million children
Administers measles vaccines 4.7 million children 10.3 million children
Treats severe acute malnutrition 2.6 million children 4.2 million children

Remarks︰In 2018, UNICEF had appealed for a global donation of USD$3.8 billion in support of its work. Yet, only USD$1.85 billion had been successfully raised at the end.


Table 2Top 10 Donors of UNICEF in 2018 (Country & Organization basis)

Rank Country/Organization Amount Donated (USD$ million)
1st United States 483.6
2nd United Kingdom 189.8
3rd UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 151.5
4th UN Central Emergency Response Fund 125.6
5th European Commission 120.5
6th Germany 90.8
7th Kuwait 61.6
8th Japan 59.3
9th Canada 57.5
10th Netherlands 42.9

The Humanitarian Action for Children 2019 can be found here.

To know more about children in crises and donation, please click here.

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For more information, please contact:

Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF

Ms Lau
Tel: 2836 2967