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.
- Countries in Europe and Central Asia, which are prone to multiple risks (i.e., natural disasters, civil unrest, conflict and displacements), have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. To date, the region has recorded nearly 1.2 million cases and 26,500 deaths.
- Given the significant impacts that the pandemic is having on the health, social and economic well-being of children, dedicated efforts, capacities and resources are needed to build resilience and enhance preparedness and response.
- The UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Regional Office will support governments and partners to enhance capacities for child-focused disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness and early emergency response. UNICEF will also provide targeted, multi-sector support to address and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on children and families.
- UNICEF is requesting US$7.7 million for disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness and response; and US$64.3 million to respond to COVID-19. Nineteen countries are directly covered by this regional appeal.
3.1 million children need essential health and nutrition services
45 million children are affected by school closures
6 million additional children are living in poor households
3.7 million children are prone to high earthquake risk
Funding requirements for 2021
Regional needs and strategy
Children in Europe and Central Asia are exposed to multiple risks: natural hazards, displacement, civil unrest, armed conflict, climate-induced disasters and disease outbreaks. Earthquakes are a common and dominant threat. Much of the region is in an active seismic zone: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are among the 10 countries with the highest levels of earthquake risk globally and earthquakes have recently impacted Albania (2019, 6.4 magnitude, 2,000 injured, 14,000 displaced) and Turkey (2020, 6.8 magnitude, 1,607 injured). Europe and Central Asia is also prone to flooding, landslides and mudslides, all of which are exacerbated by climate change and environmental degradation. In May, Uzbekistan faced a major flood triggered by a catastrophic dam collapse (90,000 displaced). In June, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine were impacted by torrential flooding, and Kyrgyzstan experienced severe mudflows. Protracted conflict in eastern Ukraine is affecting 500,000 children. The escalation of conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia has resulted in civilian casualties, including children. Over 130,000 people have been displaced and at least 10 children have been killed. Turkey hosts the world's largest refugee population, including 1.6 million children. Southeast Europe remains a transit route for migrants and refugees. The unresolved status of disputed territories such as Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh limits humanitarian access. The conflict in Afghanistan may lead to new refugee flows into Tajikistan, while border clashes in undemarcated territories put people in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan at risk of displacement and service disruption. Protests have erupted in eastern Europe, primarily in response to electoral outcomes and COVID-19-related socio-economic hardships. Countries in the region continue to report measles cases, with Kazakhstan, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan reporting the highest number of cases between July 2019 and July 2020. Given the range of risks facing women and children, particularly the most vulnerable, these populations are increasingly facing poor health care, inadequate nutrition, school dropout, violence, exploitation and abuse.
The UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Regional Office will continue to work with governments to enhance capacities for child-focused disaster risk reduction and risk-informed emergency preparedness and response to reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience. Informed by the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action, UNICEF will focus on reducing hazard risks and the impacts of climate change. In Central Asia, UNICEF's continued partnerships with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Centre for Emergency Situations and Disaster Risk Reduction will strengthen capacities for earthquake preparedness, including through supply pre-positioning, the promotion of humanitarian cash transfers and training for Red Crescent and national and local first-line responders. UNICEF will continue to co-facilitate the regional Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative to strengthen inter-agency collaboration on preparedness and disaster risk reduction; participate in the Issue-based Coalition on Environment and Climate Change; and work with country offices and key municipalities, particularly in high-risk countries, to better understand the impact of disasters and climate change on children and advocate for stronger national policies and action. To facilitate enhanced emergency preparedness, planning and response, UNICEF will strengthen country office risk monitoring and preparedness planning capacities, focusing on skills development, including through training and simulation exercises; roll out UNICEF’s global handbook on accountability to affected populations; support countries to integrate cash into national emergency response plans; and maintain regional mechanisms for surge support and emergency supply procurement and an early action emergency fund to facilitate immediate response to emerging humanitarian crises. These initiatives will also contribute to linking humanitarian and development programming. Risk monitoring, information management, advocacy-based activities and inter-agency initiatives, including country and multi-country simulation exercises, will continue, in collaboration with partners.
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.