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Map of East Asia and the Pacific
UNICEF photo: two young girls smiling and laughing © UNICEF Indonesia/2018/Dindaveska Laura (3, right) smiles after being reunited with her sister after the earthquake in Indonesia.

East Asia and the Pacific

including Indonesia

Regional Office 2019 requirements: US$11,658,140

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Indonesia 2019 requirements: US$10,719,057

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Despite strong economic growth in many countries in East Asia and the Pacific, children throughout the region, particularly the most vulnerable, remain significantly affected by humanitarian crises. Today, an estimated 4.7 million children are suffering from acute malnutrition across the region.1 East Asia and the Pacific is also the most disaster-prone region in the world, accounting for 70 per cent of the total number of people affected by disasters globally.2 In 2018, a rising number of extreme weather events, such as typhoons, cyclones and floods, struck countries across the region, including the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Tonga and Viet Nam. Increased seismic activity led to a series of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that affected millions of people in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. In total, an estimated 25 million people, including more than 7.5 million children, were affected.3 The impact of natural disasters on the region is likely to increase in 2019, as rapid urbanization, population growth and climate change further exacerbate vulnerabilities and put more children at risk. There is a high likelihood that El Niño conditions will develop in late 2018/early 2019 and increase the risks of severe flooding and drought in several countries.4 During the last El Niño episode in 2015-2016, more than 5 million people were affected by related disasters in six countries in East Asia and the Pacific.5 In addition, unresolved conflict and ethnic strife continue to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of children, particularly in Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

Regional humanitarian strategy

The East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office humanitarian strategy focuses on six priorities to strengthen UNICEF’s capacities to address the needs of children affected by emergencies in the region. First, the Regional Office will continue to support small- and medium-sized country offices to respond to emergencies when the needs are beyond government capacities. This includes country- and regional-level support for preparedness planning, emergency preparedness and response training and simulation exercises and the expansion of the regional standby emergency roster. Second, national actors will receive technical assistance to strengthen systems to provide more child-sensitive and inclusive humanitarian action. Third, UNICEF will support disaster risk reduction, resilience building and stronger linkages between humanitarian action and development programming across the region. This includes building or expanding inclusive shock-responsive social protection and cash transfer systems; implementing safe school initiatives; integrating risk reduction strategies into development plans; and developing strategic approaches to tackling underlying threats such as air pollution and climate change. Fourth, cross-sectoral programme integration will be strengthened to address the needs of children with disabilities, adolescents, women and girls in humanitarian settings, and meet UNICEF’s global commitments on accountability to affected populations and the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse in emergencies. Fifth, UNICEF will continue to foster regional partnerships with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee and the Children in a Changing Climate coalition to improve regional humanitarian action for children. Finally, knowledge management will be strengthened to ensure greater predictability and accountability in humanitarian settings, and efforts to advance humanitarian innovations will be expanded.

Results from 2018

As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF received US$7.2 million for its US$20.1 million appeal (36 per cent funded).6 This includes funding received for the earthquake response in Papua New Guinea. In 2018, the Regional Office supported country office humanitarian responses in eight countries, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Pacific islands, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, reaching an estimated 2.2 million children with life-saving assistance in nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), child protection and education.7 Support included 18 surge deployments within the region through the regional emergency response roster and other mechanisms, as well as the provision of technical and financial support to country offices. In addition, emergency preparedness in all 14 country offices in the region was strengthened through in-country preparedness and disaster risk reduction trainings and the provision of technical support on the implementation of UNICEF’s new global guidance on emergency preparedness. The regional emergency roster training enhanced the emergency response capabilities of 22 staff from 12 countries who were added to the pool of immediate surge capacity in the region. The regional knowledge management function has also been significantly improved through regular webinars and the commissioning of an important research study, entitled ‘Enhancing UNICEF’s Programme Effectiveness in Fragile Contexts in the Pacific’.


On 28 September, a 7.4-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia, triggered liquefaction, landslides and a tsunami, affected 1.5 million people and took more than 2,000 lives.8 Some 211,000 people are displaced, access to remote communities is challenging and water and sanitation services have been severely disrupted.9 This has exacerbated pre-existing risk factors, including low measles-rubella immunization coverage and poor infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices, increasing the risk of disease outbreaks for thousands of children and their families. More than 2,700 schools have been affected, impacting the education of 270,000 children.10 Approximately 5,000 children are separated from their families and 100,000 children require psychosocial support.11 In addition, UNICEF is continuing to respond to the August 2018 Lombok earthquakes, which displaced 340,000 people.12

Humanitarian strategy

In 2019, UNICEF Indonesia will continue to implement its six-month response plan, which runs from October 2018 through April 2019, and focuses on the provision of immediate life-saving response, early recovery and rehabilitation assistance for children and women affected by the earthquakes in Lombok and Sulawesi. Under the overall coordination of the National Disaster Management Agency, UNICEF is working in close collaboration with ministries and provincial governments, building on existing capacities and relationships. UNICEF is supporting child protection services, including for unaccompanied and separated children, and the establishment child-friendly and temporary learning centres to provide a sense of normalcy and help children return to education. Health and nutrition programming is focusing on measles and malaria prevention, IYCF counselling to prevent malnutrition, as well as treatment for children with severe acute malnutrition. WASH efforts are supporting both short- and long-term solutions to providing safe water and sanitation services and promoting improved hygiene practices. UNICEF is also supporting coordination by leading the national response clusters for nutrition, WASH and education and the sub-cluster for child protection.

2019 programme targets


  • 2,000 caregivers of children under 2 years received IYCF counselling
  • 1,235 health staff and community workers trained on IYCF


  • 1,540,885 children reached with measles-rubella vaccinations
  • 61,000 families receiving two long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets


  • 110,000 people accessing safe drinking water
  • 120,000 people accessing appropriate and safely managed sanitation

Child protection

  • 25,000 children accessing psychosocial support through child-friendly spaces
  • 70 per cent of identified unaccompanied and separated children reunited with their families
  • 2,750 front-line workers trained on gender-based violence and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse


  • 63,000 children accessing quality formal and non-formal education
  • 4,600 teachers trained on education-in-emergencies

Indonesia: Results from 2018

As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$11.9 million available against the revised requirements of US$23.8 million for its country-specific appeal (50 per cent funded) based on UNICEF’s updated six-month emergency response plan from October 2018 to March 2019. By 11 November, UNICEF had supported nearly 20,000 people with access to safe drinking water; nearly 23,000 children had resumed their educations at temporary learning spaces; and more than 5,700 children had received psychosocial support at child-friendly spaces. In Sulawesi, 116 tracing requests have been received, and 16 children have been reunified. National measles and rubella vaccination campaigns have recommenced in affected areas, with nearly 696,000 children reached in Sulawesi and 517,000 reached in Lombok. Some 129,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets and 150,000 rapid diagnostic malaria test kits have been shipped to Indonesia for distribution to 64,500 families, covering the affected population for six months. Six UNICEF-supported counsellors and 20 community and heath workers are providing IYCF counselling and information on the ground. The construction of latrines for up to 10,080 people, including 5,000 students, has started in Sulawesi. UNICEF is also providing technical support to government-led sector coordination in nutrition, WASH, child protection and education.

Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting US$22.4 million for regional- and country-level humanitarian action to meet the needs of children affected by emergencies in East Asia and the Pacific. The funding will allow the Regional Office to support responses to small- and medium-scale emergencies that may not benefit from inter-agency appeals; respond to the anticipated additional humanitarian needs caused by a likely El Niño event; strengthen emergency preparedness; build the emergency preparedness and response capacities of UNICEF staff, governments and partners; and advance disaster risk reduction interventions that will build resilience. The budgeted amount includes US$10.7 million for UNICEF’s response to the September 2018 earthquakes in Indonesia and US$4 million (under the Regional Office emergency response support budget line) to cover the remaining humanitarian and recovery needs from the February 2018 earthquakes in Papua New Guinea.

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1 UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the World Bank Group, ‘Levels and Trends in Child Malnutrition: Key Findings of the 2018 edition’, UNICEF, WHO, World Bank Group, 2018.
2 Australian Red Cross, ‘2 Billion People Affected by Natural Disasters in Past 10 Years’, Australian Red Cross, 2018, www.redcross.org.au/news-and-media/news/worlddisasters-report-2018, accessed 20 November 2018.
3 Consolidated figures from UNICEF, governments and inter-agency situation reports, 2018.
4 World Meteorological Organization, ‘WMO El Niño/La Niña Update’, WMO, 10 September 2018, www.wmo.int/pages/prog/wcp/wcasp/enso_update_latest.html, accessed 16 November 2018.
5 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘El Niño: Overview of impact, projected humanitarian needs and response’, OCHA, August 2016, p. 21.
6 In addition to the US$7.2 million received in 2018, US$4.5 million was carried forward from the previous year for ongoing humanitarian action in countries without a specific Humanitarian Action for Children appeal.
7 Consolidated figure from UNICEF situation reports, 2018.
8 Indonesia Humanitarian Country Team, ‘Central Sulawesi Earthquake Response Plan (Oct 2018 - Dec 2018)’, 4 October 2018.
9 Indonesia Humanitarian Country Team, ‘Central Sulawesi Earthquake & Tsunami: Humanitarian Country Team Situation Report #7’, 6 November 2018.
10 Ministry of Education and Culture, Safe School Secretariat, 2018.
11 UNICEF estimate based on figures from the Government of Indonesia, as of 10 October 2018.
12 Ministry of Social Affairs and the International Organization for Migration Displacement Tracking Matrix, September 2018.
13 This includes US$4 million to respond to remaining humanitarian and recovery needs from the February 2018 earthquakes in Papua New Guinea.