Humanitarian Action Report 2007 - Homepage

EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

CRITICAL ISSUES FOR CHILDREN

The East Asia and Pacific region faced an increase in the number and size of emergencies during 2006. Several earthquakes of medium to high intensity affected Indonesia and countries along the Ring of Fire, between northern Sumatra and the Pacific. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions affected several other countries while cyclones, typhoons, heavy rains and consequent floods have affected China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam.

In addition, armed conflict continued to cause disruption, displacement and death throughout the region, affecting women and children the worst. The dramatic rise in violence in Timor-Leste in April and May triggered massive displacement. Some 600,000 internally displaced persons live in Myanmar; several thousands in Indonesia and the Philippines and as many refugees from Myanmar live along the Thai-Myanmar border. Asylum seekers from Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam struggle for their rights in a region where several countries have not yet ratified the Refugee Convention. Of increasing concern are children associated with and/or recruited by armed forces in Myanmar, the Philippines and refugee camps in Thailand. Young involvement in violence is increasingly common in Bougainville (Papua New Guinea), the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

The escalation of human cases of Avian Influenza worldwide from the beginning of 2006 and recent deaths in Indonesia greatly increased concerns of a possible transformation of the virus into a human-to-human transmissible form. In addition to ongoing efforts to contain the spread amongst birds and bird-to-human cases, efforts are made to operationalize preparedness actions in case of human-to-human pandemic.

PLANNED HUMANITARIAN ACTION FOR 2007

Emergency preparedness and disaster mitigation: The UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO) will provide technical support to at least six Country Offices in the region to update and operationalize emergency preparedness and response (EPR) plans, including Avian/Pandemic Influenza contingency plans, and mainstream emergency in their annual work plans. Expanding on the global process of standardizing rapid assessment and performance monitoring tools, EAPRO will build the capacity of two Country Offices to adapt, pilot test and finalize the tools to be used in all future emergencies. As part of efforts at strengthening EAPRO’s capacity, the Regional Emergency Unit will work with the Regional technical team to finalize and review its roles and responsibilities in emergencies, including extending support for the cluster leadership approach. The Regional EPR plan will be monitored, in collaboration with the Planning, Evaluation and Monitoring Unit, to ensure that the regional team is fully abreast of preparedness issues and ready to assist any country affected by a new crisis. In view of the increased number and scale of emergencies in the region, EAPRO would like to strengthen the capacity of the Regional Emergency Unit to provide consistent support to Country Offices by ensuring the permanence of the Emergency Project Officer and hiring a Senior Emergency Programme Officer to act as Deputy Chief of the Unit.

Regional support for Avian/Human Influenza preparedness and response: The Regional Office will support Country Offices in their Avian/Pandemic Influenza (API) preparedness plans; undertake a coordinating role on API issues to ensure consistent and comprehensive involvement of technical advisers; represent and support the positioning of UNICEF’s role and engage in inter-agency collaboration for API preparedness and response.

Child protection in emergency: To strengthen EAPRO’s approach to child protection issues in emergencies, the Regional Office will hire a Programme Officer to work with the Regional Child Protection Unit and develop regional and sub-regional strategies for supporting Country Offices and engaging regional actors and organizations.

Regional Office financial needs for 2007

Sector

US$

Emergency preparedness and disaster mitigation

400,000

Regional support for AHI preparedness and response

250,000

Child protection in emergency

250,000

Total*

900,000

* The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.

© UNICEF/HQ97-0458/Jeremy Horner