East Asia and Pacific Region Appeal
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.
- Disasters are threatening the lives of millions of people across the East Asia and the Pacific region and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has contributed to rising numbers of children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM), unimmunized children and children without access to education. The risk of violence, exploitation and abuse is also increasing. Millions of people lack access to safe water and sanitation across the region.
- UNICEF will work on strengthening preparedness and risk-informed programming to better anticipate, reduce and respond to disasters in the region. UNICEF will also support governments and communities to control the spread of COVID-19 and address the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.
- UNICEF is seeking US$117.2 million to respond to these critical needs, including US$85.7 million for the COVID-19 response and US$31.5 million to address non-COVID-related humanitarian needs. Twenty-five countries and territories are directly covered by this regional appeal.
500,000 additional children have SAM due to COVID-19
6.9 million children are not immunized against measles
369 million people lack access to basic hygiene services
114 million children / adolescents lack access to education
Funding requirements for 2021
Regional needs and strategy
Countries in East Asia and the Pacific bear the brunt of disasters triggered by natural hazards worldwide, with over 1.6 billion people in the region affected by natural disasters since 2000. Several countries situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire are prone to earthquakes, volcanic activities and tsunamis. The region is significantly affected by the negative impacts of climate change, with cyclones, floods and droughts on the rise, both in frequency and intensity. Countries in the Mekong Delta have faced recurrent drought in recent years: In 2020, over 685,000 people were affected by drought-related saltwater intrusion in Viet Nam. In the same year, two devastating tropical cyclones in the Pacific and the Philippines affected over 830,000 people. In addition, chronic protracted humanitarian situations due to unresolved conflict and political instability continue to affect the lives of millions of children and their families, and lead to food insecurity and lack of access to basic life-saving services, with profound impacts on the most vulnerable.
These disasters occurred as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and compounded existing vulnerabilities. Across the region, 50 million people urgently require access to safe drinking water and 369 million people lack access to basic hygiene services. The number of severely malnourished children increased from 1.2 to 1.7 million over the course of 2020. An additional 21 million children (over the existing 44 million) are at acute risk of falling into poverty with severe consequences for their well-being and development. While most governments have started to reopen schools, 114 million children across the region are still without access to formal education. Before COVID-19, 71 per cent of children and 40 per cent of women in Southeast Asia and 68 per cent of women in the Pacific experienced violence and 10 to 20 per cent of children experienced mental health conditions. During the pandemic, household violence and mental health issues have reportedly worsened. Several countries have postponed vaccination campaigns, leaving unimmunized children susceptible to life-threatening diseases such as measles and polio and increasing the risk of outbreaks.
To respond to shocks and stresses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office will focus on enhancing the emergency preparedness and response capabilities of country offices, government counterparts and partners by establishing adequate preparedness measures and providing technical expertise and strengthening systems for child-sensitive and inclusive humanitarian action. UNICEF will also strengthen risk-informed programming to address both the immediate and longer-term impacts of crises. This will include sustaining the delivery of life-saving interventions in chronic protracted humanitarian situations by providing basic and essential humanitarian supplies in line with global standards; strengthening the timely and effective delivery of essential health, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, especially for the most vulnerable children under 5 years and pregnant and lactating women; and building the capacities of local service providers and caregivers. This will also include analysing multi-dimensional risks and threats to children; integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change strategies into development plans; and building inclusive shock-responsive social protection systems.
UNICEF will also strengthen the integration of cross-sectoral efforts to address the needs of children with disabilities, adolescents, women and girls in humanitarian settings, focusing on gender-based violence services, accountability to affected populations and the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse in emergencies. To ensure greater predictability and accountability in humanitarian settings and learn from previous emergencies, including the COVID-19 response, UNICEF will expand knowledge management efforts and advance humanitarian innovations.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF will continue to support governments and communities to control the spread of the virus and minimize morbidity and mortality, including by enhancing preparedness for the possible second and third waves of COVID-19. In addition, UNICEF will address the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic in the region by restoring children’s mental and physical well-being in the areas of health, nutrition, WASH, child protection, education and social protection, focusing on the most vulnerable. This will be done in line with the concept of ‘building back better’ to ensure clear linkages between the humanitarian response and longer-term development efforts.
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 East Asia and the Pacific; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.