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New York: UNICEF appeals for US$2.2b to help children in emergencies

New York, US - The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has appealed for US$2.2 billion to help nearly 60 million children in crisis situations around the world. PANA in New York reports that UNICEF 'Humanitarian Action for Children 2014' is the largest emergency appeal on record and it is expected to aid 85 million people of whom about 60 million are children.

Mr. Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes, in a statement obtained by PANA in New York, said children were always the most vulnerable group in emergencies, facing a high risk of violence, exploitation, disease and neglect.

He noted that the appeal outstripped its call early last year for US$1.4 billion, saying that, 'the appeal was revised in October to US$1.7 billion'.

He said majority of the funds were destined to tackle the impact of the crisis in Syria and the sub-region, while almost 40 per cent of US$835 million would be earmarked for immunizations, as well as water and sanitation, education and protection projects.

The UNICEF official said the aid would also 'support the social cohesion and peace-building skills needed to build a more sustainable future'.

He said that the funds would 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 had more than 400,000 children and their families displaced.

'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.'

In addition, UNICEF will use the appeal for under-funded crises, including in Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Somalia and Yemen.

It added that, with partners, the UN agency was also working to address challenges in Angola, Haiti and the Sahel, among others.

Pana 23/02/2014