Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
- Five years into the Rohingya crisis, Bangladesh hosts 943,529 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar District, including 490,635 children. The refugees rely heavily on international aid and humanitarian assistance. As of August 2022, 26,043 Rohingya refugees had been relocated to Bhasan Char Island.
- More than 8 million people in Rangpur, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Barishal, Khluna and Chattogram Divisions (43 per cent of them children) are affected by devastating floods and cyclones every year. It is predicted that by 2050, one in seven people will be displaced due to climate change.
- UNICEF will continue to invest in government-led preparedness and humanitarian response in line with the Rohingya Refugee Crisis Joint Response Plan 2022 and the Humanitarian Coordination Task Team Nexus Strategy for climate-related disasters 2021-2025, focusing on floods, landslides and cyclones.
- UNICEF is appealing for US$173.8 million to provide child-focused and gender-sensitive humanitarian assistance in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, nutrition, child protection and education for refugees, host communities and the most vulnerable people in flood- and cyclone-affected districts.
Key planned results for 2023
2.2 million children and women accessing primary health care
3.6 million children/caregivers accessing community-based mental health and psychosocial support
602,022 children receiving individual learning materials
1.2 million people accessing a sufficient quantity and quality of water
Funding requirements for 2023
Country needs and strategy
Bangladesh is facing a complex humanitarian situation due to the protracted Rohingya refugee crisis and also because of people's vulnerability to such climate-induced disasters as cyclones, floods, landslides and thunderstorms. Public health emergencies such as diphtheria, measles, cholera and dengue also pose risks. Compounding all these vulnerabilities are global economic challenges: While in Bangladesh a strong recovery from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continued in 2022, rising commodity prices and a surge in imports in the second half of the year are accelerating inflation and making it more difficult for the most vulnerable people to meet their basic needs.
As the Rohingya refugee crisis enters its fifth year, Bangladesh is hosting 943,529 Rohingya refugees (including 490,635 children) who fled the extreme violence in Myanmar and settled in Cox’s Bazar District. As of 31 August 2022, approximately 26,043 refugees had been relocated to Bhasan Char island to decongest the camps. The complex conditions and limited services in the Rohingya camps and in Bhasan Char continue to increase people's needs. Some 115,519 Rohingya refugee and host community children are in need of immunization services; 655,025 Rohingya refugee and host community children require access to education, and 1,143,529 Rohingya refugees and members of affected host communities lack access to safe water. Negative coping mechanisms persist, disproportionally affecting Rohingya women, girls and boys, who face risks of abuse, exploitation and gender-based violence.
The adverse impacts of climate change (including unprecedented cyclones and intensified annual floods) have become key drivers of humanitarian needs. In June 2022, the northeastern region of Bangladesh suffered the worst flood in 122 years, severely affecting 7.2 million people, including 3.5 million children. The flooding damaged water and sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases, including acute watery diarrhoea. Access to health care and nutrition services was significantly reduced because 90 per cent of the health-care facilities were damaged. More than 3,300 primary schools and 2,400 learning centres required repair work and replenishment of learning materials for children. More than 2.2 million children in flood- and cyclone-prone districts need psychosocial support. Despite humanitarian efforts and a gradual improvement of basic services several weeks after the flooding, significant needs remain unmet across sectors, with only 1.25 million people having received any humanitarian assistance or service.
UNICEF will reach crisis-affected populations in Bangladesh with an integrated package of life-saving services that includes health, nutrition, WASH, education and child protection services, humanitarian cash transfers and risk communication activities. UNICEF will invest in preparedness, build communities’ resilience and strengthen humanitarian and development linkages.
UNICEF will be part of the interagency Rohingya Refugee Crisis Joint Response Plan 2023, which focuses on the refugee response in Cox's Bazar District, including meeting the humanitarian needs of those refugees who have been relocated to Bhasan Char. In addition to the existing 12 programmatic areas of work, the newly created livelihoods/skills development sector will provide appropriate technical skills to improve the employability of adolescents. In response to the refugee crisis, UNICEF will support the continuity of services in all sectors, with a specific focus on 1) scaling up the Myanmar Curriculum; 2) maintaining resilient water, sanitation and hygiene promotion; 3) enhancing primary health care and improving the coverage of immunization services; 4) expanding the community-based nutrition programme; and 5) supporting community-based structures to identify vulnerable children in need of protection and provide them with adequate care and psychosocial support. Following the Government’s plan to relocate an additional 75,000 Rohingya people to Bhasan Char in 2023, of whom 33 per cent will be school-aged children, UNICEF will keep the strategic focus on maintaining the functionality and quality of education and WASH services, while prioritizing emergency preparedness for public health emergencies.
Beyond the Rohingya crisis, and in response to the recurrent climaterelated hazards that impact Bangladesh, UNICEF will partner with the Government of Bangladesh and other partners to anticipate and mitigate the impacts of natural disasters and to restore and improve the quality of essential services. As part of these efforts, UNICEF will support the Government in providing uninterrupted, safe water supply and sanitation services and hygiene promotion activities to be more climate resilient. UNICEF will support partners in keeping schools and learning centres operational by providing learning materials and supporting the implementation of risk mitigation-linked protocols. Following an increase in the number of social workers linked with UNICEF programmes, UNICEF will implement a more holistic approach to addressing genderbased violence, including strengthening social workers’ capacity to prevent, report and respond to cases of violence against children and women in vulnerable and disaster-prone districts. UNICEF will work with the Government to reinforce existing coordination mechanisms and support the improvement of essential maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health services through the provision of vaccines, cold chain logistics, and other essential commodities to reach children under age 5. UNICEF will also assist the Government in sustaining the quality of nutrition services at the community and facility levels, facilitating the treatment of children with severe wasting to strengthen preparedness and build more resilience.
UNICEF will continue leading the nutrition, WASH and child protection sectors/clusters and co-leading the education sector/cluster. Particularly in Bhasan Char, UNICEF will lead the coordination of the education, WASH and child protection sectors. UNICEF will prioritize gender responsiveness and community engagement to ensure the participation of women, girls and people with disabilities in decision-making, and to ensure accountability to the affected population. UNICEF will also raise awareness among local humanitarian actors on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, and strengthen mechanisms for reporting and for supporting survivors.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in Bangladesh; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.