UNICEF appeals for US$ 28 million to assist Afghan children and women affected by emergency
4 February 2010 - UNICEF launched its Humanitarian Action Report [HAR] 2010 today, calling on donors to provide US$ 1.16 billion dollars to assist children and women who are victims of emergencies in 28 different countries and territories around the world, with Haiti on top of the agenda. US$ 28 million are requested for Afghanistan, also a priority of the report.
When launching the report in Geneva, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Hilde Johnson, stressed: “As we maximize our efforts to speed up delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection for every child in Haiti, UNICEF also needs to engage in changing the lives of children all over the world.”
The report emphasizes factors which cumulatively constitute the main underlying causes of vulnerability, faced by children and women, including climate change, global financial crises and unstable food prices. These factors threaten the survival and respect to fundamental rights of children and favor an environment prone to violence, including sexual abuse.
The report highlights the range of humanitarian action that UNICEF is undertaking worldwide, from preparedness to response to recovery and transition. Countries recently affected by natural and political crisis, such as Haiti and Somalia are featured, as are locations where no immediate disaster has stricken but where children continue to suffer, like Afghanistan.
“Funds requested for Afghanistan will facilitate the provision of emergency assistance for those who are the most vulnerable.” said UNICEF Country Representative Catherine Mbengue. “No matter if it is violence, floods or drought, children and women bear the brunt in each humanitarian crisis, here in Afghanistan and all over the world.”
The effects of insecurity, drought and high food prices are putting an estimated 1.2 million children under five and 550,000 pregnant and lactating women across Afghanistan at high risk of undernutrition, infectious diseases and livelihood vulnerability. Their situation is exacerbated by little or no access to essential health care, safe water, education and child protection services.
The level of funding received determines UNICEF’s capacity to respond rapidly to emergencies. In 2009 funding through the Humanitarian Action mechanism and collaboration with line ministries, UN-agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and civil society, partners allowed UNICEF Afghanistan to treat 5,000 undernourished children under age five in outpatient clinics and centers across the eight provinces most affected by drought and high food prices.
A measles immunization campaign resulted in the vaccination of more than 3 million people. Funds also facilitated vitamin A supplementation and polio vaccination for 98 per cent of all children under five years old. Safe water and sanitary facilities were provided to about 300,000 people affected by drought. Nearly one third of the 651 schools which were closed in 2008, because of threats and violence, were reopened.
Partnership is the theme of this year’s Humanitarian Action Report. Together with its partners, including the government and the Humanitarian Country Team, UNICEF will provide access to essential health and nutrition care, clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, safe learning environments and strong psychosocial support and protection for children. Emergency preparedness and support for lasting recovery are woven into all these interventions.
UNICEF contributed to the preparation of the Humanitarian Appeal Process 2010, a joint appeal of humanitarian partners for $87.6 million, targeting over seven million Afghan people. “We must make sure that children and women are protected to the utmost extend and have their rights respected;” Ms Mbengue emphasized. “UNICEF looks forward to continue working with all donors and partners to increase the efficiency of disaster preparedness and response for Afghanistan.”
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments