KABUL, Afghanistan, 30 January 2018 – UNICEF appealed today for $3.6 billion to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance to 48 million children living through conflict, natural disasters and other emergencies in 51 countries in 2018.
Some $32.8 million of the appeal is for work in Afghanistan, where violent conflict is driving humanitarian needs to critical levels, with children especially vulnerable. The Afghanistan funding appeal is also part of the Humanitarian Response Plan launched by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Kabul on 15 January 2018.
“Children are the most vulnerable when conflict or disaster causes the collapse of essential services such as healthcare, education, water and sanitation,” said UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, Adele Khodr. “Unless the international community takes urgent action to protect and provide life-saving assistance to these children, such crises threaten the immediate survival and long term future of children and young people on a catastrophic scale.”
“UNICEF highly appreciates the trust and support of donors in 2017, who made sure that the cause of children received the necessary funding and advocacy. We count on that same spirit in support of the Humanitarian Response Plan in 2018, and stand by our commitment to provide Afghan children with the most critical humanitarian support they need,” said Khodr.
Around the world, parties to conflicts are showing a blatant disregard for the lives of children. Children are not only coming under direct attack, but are also being denied basic services as schools, hospitals and civilian infrastructure are damaged or destroyed.
The world is becoming a more dangerous place for many children, with almost one in four children now living in a country affected by conflict or disaster. For too many of these children, daily life is a nightmare.
In Afghanistan, conflict continues to drive humanitarian needs across the country. It has led to the closure or destruction of schools, more than a million Afghans have been deprived of access to improved water sources, and 35 per cent of children aged 6 to 11 months are suffering from diarrhoea. In 2017, fighting forced 360,000 people out of their homes; more than half of them were women and children. The humanitarian situation is not expected to improve in the coming years, making a multi-year humanitarian response plan and humanitarian appeal even more relevant.
Launching the global appeal in Geneva, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes Manuel Fontaine said, “117 million people living through emergencies lack access to safe water and in many countries affected by conflict, more children die from diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation than from direct violence.”
“Without access to safe water and sanitation, children fall ill, and are often unable to be treated as hospitals and health centers either do not function or are overcrowded. The threat is even greater as millions of children face life-threatening levels of malnutrition, making them more susceptible to water-borne diseases, creating a vicious cycle of undernutrition and disease,” said Fontaine.
As the leading humanitarian agency on water, sanitation and hygiene in emergencies, UNICEF provides over half of the emergency water, sanitation and hygiene services in humanitarian crises around the world.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Afghanistan, visit www.unicef.org/afghanistan.