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Amid ‘unprecedented’ needs, UNICEF seeks $6.4bn in aid to help 190mn kids

December 04, 2020
Two boys at the Loda IDP camp in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The camp houses around 1,500 under-17 children but has no school or child safe spaces. — Courtesy photo
Two boys at the Loda IDP camp in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The camp houses around 1,500 under-17 children but has no school or child safe spaces. — Courtesy photo

NEW YORK — The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday, launched a $6.4 billion emergency funding appeal to reach more than 190 million children affected by humanitarian crises amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The appeal for 2021, which is a 35 percent increase over the funds requested for this year, is the largest ever by the UN agency. It will support essential programs in 149 countries and territories.

It is an “unprecedented” situation, said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.

“Today we are facing a child rights emergency in which COVID-19 and other crises are combining to deprive children of their health and wellbeing. This unprecedented situation demands a similarly unprecedented response.”

She called on donors to contribute “so that together we can help the world’s children get through this darkest of times and prevent a lost generation.”

As the world confronted the COVID-19 pandemic, new humanitarian crises erupted in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado provinces in recent weeks while powerful storms wreaked havoc in Central America and East Asia, and protracted emergencies worsened globally.

“When a devastating pandemic coincides with conflict, climate change, disaster and displacement, the consequences for children can be catastrophic”, said Fore.

As part of its Humanitarian Action for Children, which sets out UNICEF’s 2021 appeal, the agency plans to assist, about 300 million people — including 190 million children. Priority sectors include education, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, health, and child protection.

The top five appeals by funding requirements for 2021 are for Syrian refugees ($1.0 billion), Yemen ($576.9 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($384.4 million), Syria ($330.8 million), and Venezuela ($201.8 million).

Meanwhile, donor governments pledged a record $932 million to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, to support the delivery of life-saving aid and protection to nearly 80 million refugees, displaced, and stateless people, in 2021.

The pledges were announced at the agency’s annual pledging conference in Geneva, on Wednesday.

Addressing the conference, Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said: “Refugees fleeing conflict, persecution, and human rights violations need our support now more than ever. We are encouraged by the commitments our donors made today which are a lifeline for millions needing help, hope, and home.”

To fulfill its mandated responsibilities and meet critical humanitarian needs next year, UNHCR requested about $9.1 billion, including $8.6 billion for its 2021 Global Appeal, and about $455 million for its additional COVID-19-related activities.

In all, donors committed over $1.1 billion for UNHCR’s programs in 2021 and beyond.


December 04, 2020
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