UNICEF Report: Children in More Than 25 Countries Caught in Emergencies

Unrestricted revenue critical in assisting the vulnerable during crises

NEW YORK and GENEVA, Jan. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — UNICEF appealed today for $1.28 billion to fund its 2012 humanitarian operations in more than 25 countries globally. While the crisis in Somalia and across the Horn of Africa accounts for nearly one-third of the total amount, the list of countries includes many long-standing or “silent” emergencies.

Launched today in Geneva, the UNICEF 2012 Humanitarian Action for Children report says: “Throughout the world, millions of children are living amidst crises that persist for years. While some of these emergencies attract significant media and political attention, others never reach international awareness, and many become silent emergencies in which deep humanitarian need, existing far from the public eye, is too easily and quickly overlooked.”

“In the Sahel, we are facing a nutrition crisis of a larger magnitude than usual. In addition, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and the Central African Republic, to name just a few, are all emergencies requiring funding if their most vulnerable people, children and women, are to survive,” said Rima Salah, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, at the launch of the report.

The UNICEF report describes the daily situation of some of the world’s most vulnerable children and women caught up in emergencies across the world and the funding required to meet their immediate and long-term needs.

There are two types of donations: those restricted to particular emergencies, programs, or countries and those that are unrestricted and therefore can be used for any purpose. Unrestricted revenue is vital for UNICEF’s efforts to deliver lifesaving assistance during silent emergencies, prepare for natural disasters, and prevent humanitarian catastrophes from unfolding. This type of funding also enables UNICEF to respond quickly at the onset of a crisis and to changing circumstances on the ground. Because unrestricted funds are not earmarked, they can be moved from program to program to cover essential supplies, services and technical expertise that may not be addressed by restricted donations.

“Unrestricted donations have a direct impact on UNICEF’s ability to reach some of the poorest and most vulnerable children on earth,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “Millions of children around the world rely on donations to UNICEF for therapeutic food, clean water, vaccinations, medical treatment, and other basic needs for survival. These funds are necessary to address critical needs that would otherwise have gone unmet.”

The report highlights the massive humanitarian operation in the Horn of Africa where UNICEF activated its highest level of emergency response to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and women on the brink of survival in that region.

It also notes the needs of children and their families displaced by violence stemming from the November 2010 elections in Cote d’Ivoire and the independence of South Sudan from the Republic of Sudan, the five million people affected by a second year of flooding in Pakistan, and the operation to rebuild Haiti two years after an earthquake shattered the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

The report cites the wave of political turmoil and change in the Middle East and North Africa as creating humanitarian needs in the region, especially in countries such as Yemen that is already affected by a long-standing crisis.

The report stresses the importance of emergency preparedness and building resilience as critical in reducing death and injury in emergency situations.

The conflict in the East and Northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to have a profound impact on millions of people over many years, according to the report. As of June 2011, more than 1.5 million people, half of them children, were displaced by ethnic violence. Millions of children in conflict-affected areas were out of school, and attacks involving mass sexual violence were common in some provinces, and measles and cholera epidemics threatened the lives of many millions of children.

In Haiti, UNICEF and its partners continue to assist survivors of the 2010 earthquake and take steps to increase the resilience of the most vulnerable. In 2011, for example, UNICEF helped reunite 2,500 separated children with their families and established 193 temporary schools to serve nearly 86,000 children.

“We have achieved many positive results in emergency settings in 2011 but the urgent and long-term needs of millions of children and their families will continue in 2012. UNICEF requires adequate funding in order to fulfill its commitments towards children.” Salah said. “They not only represent the future but are the most vulnerable, and deserve generous and consistent support from the donor community.”

To read UNICEF’s 2012 Humanitarian Action for Children report visit http://www.unicefusa.org/har.

For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution please contact the U.S. Fund for UNICEF:

Website: http://www.unicefusa.org
Toll free: 1-800-4UNICEF (1-800-486-4233)
Mail: 125 Maiden Lane, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038

UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.

UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from more than 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. But still, 21,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

For further information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org
Kini Schoop, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2634, kschoop@unicefusa.org


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