UNICEF requests $1.4 billion from donors

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Sunday released the Humanitarian Action for Children Report, 2011, requesting $1.4 billion in its appeal to donors to assist children and women caught in the throes of crises. The report highlights 32 countries and emphasizes the increasing importance of strengthening the resilience of communities.

“Investing in children and building the resilience of countries and communities living on the edge not only shortens their road to recovery, but also helps them to manage anticipated risks before a crisis strikes and to mitigate loss when it does,” said Hilde Johnson, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director.

The world witnessed overpowering humanitarian crises in 2010: flooding in Pakistan submerged one-fifth of the country; the earthquake in Haiti claimed over 200,000 lives and displaced millions; the parched earth and lack of food across the Sahel continues to threaten hundreds of thousands of children with acute malnutrition.

These emergencies claim the headlines, but there are many more lesser-reported crises affecting the lives of children and families, the report points out.

Around the world, drought, famine, violent conflict, and long-term displacement are a reality for millions of people. These humanitarian crises have dire consequences for children, among them, recruitment into armed forces, sexual violence, and the loss of basic services such as water, health and education.

The unprecedented scale of the disasters in Haiti and Pakistan in 2010 triggered an extraordinary global response from all humanitarian organisations and partners. Yet, it also underscored the need to strengthen preparedness and risk reduction in the communities that are hit repeatedly by crisis. Providing vulnerable communities the skills to face and withstand risk is an increasingly important component of humanitarian action, and an area to which UNICEF is deeply committed.

Urgent action needed

The report shows areas where urgent action is imperative to save lives, to protect children against the worst forms of violence and abuse, and to ensure access to basic services, such as water, sanitation, health, nutrition and education.

The 32 countries have been prioritised based on the scale of the crisis, the severity of its impact on children and women, the chronic or protracted nature of the crisis, and the potential to bring about life-saving and long lasting results.

More In: National | News