MANILA, Philippines – UNICEF has appealed for almost $1.4 billion to meet the immediate, life-saving needs of children in 45 countries and regions globally gripped by conflict, natural disasters and other complex emergencies this year. Funds raised by the annual appeal will also go towards improving disaster preparedness, and to strengthening the resilience of communities to withstand and minimize the impact of new shocks.
“We are still in the first month of 2013, which has already proved harsh for millions of children suffering in Syria and for refugees who had to flee to neighboring countries. Mali and the Central African Republic are also experiencing worsening conflict, threatening the lives of children and women,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s Director of the Office of Emergency Programs. “Children are extremely vulnerable in emergencies, often living in unhealthy and unsafe conditions, at high risk of disease, violence, exploitation and neglect.”
The Humanitarian Action for Children 2013 appeal includes countries prominent in today’s news headlines along with many other countries that receive much less media coverage, such as Chad, Colombia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen and the Philippines, but which also require urgent attention and assistance.
“The complex emergency in Syria represents one important focus of UNICEF’s global emergency response,” said Chaiban. “But we are also delivering results for children in highly challenging and largely forgotten emergencies around the world.”
The Philippines’ US$23 million appeal aims to address humanitarian needs in the Mindanao armed conflict, the Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) emergency, and other anticipated emergencies in other parts of the country.
“Much work has been done to respond to the plight of children and women in Pablo-affected areas in the last two months, and we really appreciate people’s resilience, leadership by the Government, assistance by a number of donors and humanitarian actors. At the same time, there is still a long way to go towards their full recovery. Also, impact of armed conflict and violence in other parts of Mindanao on children and women need continued attention and related humanitarian action,” Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Philippines Representative, says.
Donors that have so far contributed more than US$5.6 million to ensure children’s needs are met include the governments of Japan, New Zealand, Canada and Hungary. Private businesses and Filipino citizens have shown their generosity by contributing more than PhP9.7 million (US$235,000) for those affected by Typhoon Pablo. At the same time, the appeal is still 66 percent unfunded.
More than 85 per cent of the global funding requirements are for humanitarian situations other than Syria and the related refugee crisis. The 45 countries and regions in the appeal are priorities due to the scale of the crisis, the urgency of its impact on children and women, the complexity of the response and the capacity to respond.
Contributions to UNICEF’s 2013 requirements worldwide will allow the organization to build on its work in 2012. Some of the results achieved from January through October 2012 include:
* Health: 38.3 million children immunized
* Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 12.4 million people provided access to safe water for drinking, cooking and bathing
* Education: 3 million children provided access to improved education
* Child Protection: 2.4 million children provided with child protection services
* Nutrition: 2 million children treated for severe and acute malnutrition
* HIV and AIDS: 1 million people provided access to testing, counseling and referral for treatment
In 2012, large funding gaps in some countries such as Madagascar and Colombia left many needs unmet. In many countries, access, security and the capacity of partners are other major constraints to delivering humanitarian assistance.
For the recent Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) emergency, there is still substantial funding gap that hampers the scaling-up of life-saving and life-enhancing services to more children affected by the typhoon.
“Contributions to the appeal are sound investments in children and their futures,” said Chaiban. “UNICEF seeks un-earmarked resources to allow the organization to respond to consistently underfunded emergencies or where the needs are greatest, to apply innovative solutions to complex situations, and to integrate early recovery in large-scale emergencies—many of which extend across multiple countries at the same time.”