UNICEF calls for US$2.2 billion to help 59 million children in emergencies, including Ethiopia

Largest emergency appeal on record, almost 40 per cent for Syria and region

Somali children concentrate on their learning at a school supported by UNICEF and operated by Save the Children in Kobe refugee camp in Ethiopia. © UNICEF Ethiopia/2013/Ose

GENEVA/ADDIS ABABA, 21 February 2014 – UNICEF appealed today for almost US$2.2 billion to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance in 2014 to 85 million people, including 59 million children, who face conflict, natural disasters and other complex emergencies in 50 countries.

“I have just returned from South Sudan, the latest large-scale conflict to disrupt the lives of millions of innocent children. Over 400,000 children and their families have been displaced by the conflict, and over 3.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. 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,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes.

“The children of South Sudan join millions of others affected by conflict in the Central African Republic and Syria. But while today’s headlines focus on these complex, under-funded crises, many other desperate situations also require immediate funding and urgent humanitarian assistance. These include Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Somalia and Yemen, and other countries reflected in UNICEF’s appeal,” Chaiban said.

UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children 2014 appeal highlights the daily challenges faced by children in humanitarian crises, the support required to help them survive and thrive, and the results that are possible even in the most difficult circumstances.

For Syria and the sub-region, UNICEF is appealing for US$835 million to deliver life-saving assistance including immunization, water and sanitation, education, and protection; and to support the social cohesion and peace-building skills needed to build a more sustainable future.

“Children are always the most vulnerable group in emergencies, facing a high risk of violence, exploitation, disease and neglect,” Chaiban said. “But when support is made available, we can change the lives of children for the better. With its partners, UNICEF is working to address a diverse range of humanitarian situations including malnutrition in the Sahel; lack of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation in Yemen; cholera in Haiti; increased attacks on children in Afghanistan; and drought in Angola.”

In Ethiopia, to support children affected by humanitarian crisis and accelerate efforts to break the vicious cycle of drought, hunger and poverty, UNICEF is appealing for US$31,126,000 million by working closely with Government and partners. The fund is allotted to treat 238,700 children aged 6 to 59 months affected by severe acute malnutrition, provide water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene for 1,200,000 people and offer formal and informal education to 90,000 children. This year’s appeal will build on the past gains made towards strengthening the resilience of communities in Ethiopia and save the lives of children. The 40 per cent decrease in requirements from 2013 reflects a projected improvement in the food security and nutritional situation in 2014.

See the press release here. 

International Children’s Day celebrated big and colourful in Ethiopia

All sectors will come hand in hand to help children in need
International Children’s Day was big and colourful in Assosa, the capital of the Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia. The event was graced by the Regional president, HE Ato Ahmed Nasir, Minister of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, HE Zenebu Tadesse, the chair and vice chair of the parliamentary standing committee on women and children, line sector bureau heads, development and humanitarian agencies, and of course children from various backgrounds.

HE Zenebu Tadesse, Minister of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, makes an opening speech International Children's Day celebration in Assosa

HE Zenebu Tadesse’s message highlighted the need to strengthen cooperation and coordination of the all partners to increase efforts for the effective delivery of services to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs). She stressed on the importance of participating children in all our endeavours.

Ibrahim Sesay, UNICEF Ethiopia’s Child Protection Specialist, key note speech during the day urges partners to strengthen the effort to deliver on promises for children.

“This year’s global theme for the celebration is to “Stop Violence against Children”, with a special emphasis on birth registration, child marriage, positive parenting and non-violent discipline. However, in Ethiopia, this event has been tailored to mark the need to strengthen various initiatives that will improve the situation of vulnerable children.

The name of the vulnerable child that requires our urgent attention and support is called TODAY. This child can no longer wait for all the promises we usually make. The child TODAY is calling for appropriate actions that will improve his/her situation. Our children in Ethiopia are asking from duty bearers – ‘give us what you promised’!

From his conversation and listening to children’s voices, Ibrahim Sesay enlisted five key promises which children are eager to receive from all partners:
1. Making laws/policies and programmes very relevant through effective implementation. Government’s efforts should be tailored in creating an enabling environment for the enforcement of legislative frameworks and policies that have been developed, and improving co-ordination across government departments and partnership with service providers.
2. Building on existing community strengths and resilience
3. Improving public information on the situation of vulnerable children.
4. Empowering children. The need to further promote the active participation and organization of girls and boys in all our programmes.
5. Accelerating the current child care reforms to better protect vulnerable children.

Ibrahim Sesay, Child Protection Specialist, makes a key note statement during International Children's Day celebration in AssosaMr. Sesay affirmed that UNICEF continues to support the government to implement the five point agenda and call for action, leveraging with other development actors to support the core programmes that promote children’s rights in Ethiopia.”

UNICEF launched the #ENDViolence Against Children campaign earlier this year. It urges public acknowledgement of the problem of violence against children and encourages support and engagement with local movements to address a compelling global issue.