Europe and Central Asia 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.
- Multiple hazards – earthquakes, wildfires, floods, conflict and displacement – pose significant risks to children and families in Central Asia and South Caucasus. Earthquakes in Central Asia could affect up to 500,000 people in urban centres. In 2022, floods, civil unrest and border conflict affected nearly 17,000 people and disrupted school for nearly 500,000 children.
- The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the war in Ukraine have negatively impacted child poverty, income inequality, livelihoods, fuel availability and food security. This could trigger regional humanitarian consequences related to increased poverty, reduced social cohesion and an increased inflow of migrants and refugees.
- UNICEF continues to invest in enhancing the emergency preparedness, response and disaster risk reduction capacities of governments and partners for effective, child-responsive and climate adaptive humanitarian action and risk mitigation.
- UNICEF requires US$7.7 million to reduce risks and impact of humanitarian crises on children and their families, address their needs and build their resilience to emergencies.
7.5 million children exposed to riverine floods in the region
3.7 million people are prone to high earthquake risk
32 million children are highly exposed to water scarcity
115,460 people internally displaced in 2021
Funding requirements for 2023
Regional needs and strategy
Children and families throughout Europe and Central Asia are exposed to multiple risks, including civil unrest, disease outbreaks and natural hazards. Countries in Central Asia, South Caucasus and the Western Balkans are particularly prone to major earthquakes. Small-scale disasters including floods, landslides, wildfires and droughts pose additional threats regionwide. In 2022, for example, floods affected nearly 1,000 households in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Impacts of disasters are being exacerbated by climate change and urbanization, becoming more frequent and intense. Already, 41.9 million children (57 per cent of the region's children) are exposed to more than six heatwaves per year, 32.4 million children (49 per cent of children) to water scarcity and 7.5 million children (10 per cent of children) to riverine floods. Despite countries' commitments to disaster risk management, vulnerable people remain at risk of loss of lives and livelihood. Political instability, civil unrest and displacement impact families. In 2022, protests in Kazakhstan disrupted education for at least 493,448 children and put 3,000 families already living under the poverty line at risk, while border conflicts affected 8,510 people in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The war in Ukraine continues to impact political and socioeconomic conditions regionwide, increasing prices for oil, gas and food, causing influxes of refugees and deepening political polarization. Additional threats of vaccine-preventable diseases and cross-border epidemics, due to the interruption of services during the COVID-19 pandemic and because of large movements of populations, impact children's lives and development.
In 2023, UNICEF will continue working with country offices, governments and partners to enhance emergency preparedness and response capacities, provide technical assistance and strengthen systems for inclusive, child-sensitive humanitarian action. The focus will be on scaling up national preparedness for sudden- and slow-onset emergencies, including disasters triggered by natural and climate-induced hazards, conflict, displacements and epidemics/pandemics; and on delivering life-saving interventions in health, nutrition, education, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH), child protection, social protection and social and behavioural change. UNICEF will work with authorities and communities to enhance local capacities on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, mitigate the impacts of disasters, strengthen risk-informed programming and reinforce linkages between humanitarian and development programmes. In Central Asia and other subregions, UNICEF will sustain its partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, further building the capacities of government and front-line actors through pre-positioning supplies; strengthening shock responsive social protection systems (including for cash programmes); improving capacities in accountability to affected populations and in WASH and gender in emergencies programming; and promoting school safety and youth engagement. Inter-agency collaboration on preparedness and resilience will continue through co-facilitation of the regional Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative. Regional surge mechanisms, supply procurement support and early action emergency funds will enable immediate response to sudden-onset disasters. Interventions will connect resilience and humanitarian efforts within the broader programme areas, integrating gender-based violence risk mitigation, addressing the needs of adolescents, women, girls and children with disabilities in humanitarian settings and enhancing knowledge management and sharing.
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 Europe and Central Asia; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.