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.
- In Europe and Central Asia, multiple risks, including earthquakes, floods, conflict and displacement, pose a risk to the well-being of vulnerable populations, particularly children. In 2021, a rise in devastating floods and landslides, escalation of “frozen conflicts” and increased transits of migrants and refugees, intensified humanitarian needs. These continue to be compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, taking a heavy toll on lives and livelihoods, with 21.4 million cases and 410,000 deaths recorded to date. In the region, the impact of the pandemic has affected, and continues to negatively affect the overall growth and development of children.
- UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (ECARO) will continue to invest in enhancing emergency preparedness, response and disaster risk reduction capacities of government and partners to facilitate effective, child-sensitive and gender-responsive humanitarian action and risk mitigation efforts. UNICEF will maintain a focus on providing targeted, multi-sectoral humanitarian response to address and alleviate the direct impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable children and families.
- UNICEF is requesting US$64.6 million to address the needs of the children and their families, including US$58.6 million for COVID-19 response in 21 countries and US$ 6 million to strengthen emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction capacities.
2 million children in need of immunization services
24.1 million children out of learning
19.8 million children are living in poor households
3.7 million people are prone to high earthquake risk
Funding requirements for 2022
Regional needs and strategy
Children and families living across Europe and Central Asia are exposed to multiple hazards like earthquakes, floods and landslides. Between 2019 and 2021, 524,000 people were affected by earthquakes in Albania, Croatia, Turkey and Tajikistan. In 2021, floods affected over 20,000 people; droughts threatened the subsistence of 965,000 people in Central Asia and Mediterranean wildfires destroyed livelihoods of over 148,000 people. Associated impacts of such events are likely to be exacerbated by climate change and rapid urbanization, becoming more frequent and intense in years ahead. Political instability, civil unrest and displacement pose enduring risks for families. Clashes on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan adversely impacted children and women, displacing around 68,000 people. Over 2,000 children returned to Europe and Central Asia from situations of armed conflict, facing multiple challenges recovering from their experiences and reintegrating into their communities. Humanitarian crises in neighbouring countries continue, with Turkey hosting over 4 million refugees and asylum-seekers (1.7 million children) and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan potentially triggering large inflows of refugees into Central Asia and beyond. Europe remains an active transit route for migrants and refugees, with some countries seeing increasing arrivals in 2021. With health systems already overstretched by COVID-19, threat of other disease outbreaks cannot be ignored. In 2020, over 2.5 million children were unable to receive routine vaccines, five countries suspended planned supplementary/catch up immunization activities and over 95 per cent of countries reported a decline in routine immunization coverage of 3 to 27 per cent, leading to increased risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks like the recent cases of vaccine-derived polio in Tajikistan and Ukraine. Despite country commitments on disaster risk management, vulnerable children and women remain at risk, limiting opportunities for survival, growth and development.
In 2022, UNICEF will continue working with country offices, governments and partners to enhance emergency preparedness and response capacities and measures, provide technical assistance and enhance systems for inclusive, child-sensitive humanitarian action. Guided by the Core Commitments of Children in Humanitarian Action, focus will be on scaling up national preparedness for sudden-onset emergencies, including natural disasters, conflict, displacements and refugee influx and delivering life-saving interventions in health, nutrition, education, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH), child protection and social protection. UNICEF will work with authorities and communities to prepare for reintegration of children returning from Iraq, Syria and other armed conflicts and enhance capacities on disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change adaptation and risk-informed programming. In Central Asia, UNICEF will sustain partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), further building capacities of government and front-line actors through pre-positioning supplies; improving capacities in shock-responsive social protection, accountability to affected populations, WASH and gender in emergencies, 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 (CADRI). Strengthening staff skills on risk monitoring, preparedness planning and humanitarian action, and roll-out of global procedures will remain a priority focus, per the humanitarian review. Regional surge mechanisms, supply procurement support and an early action emergency fund will be maintained to enable immediate response to humanitarian situations. Emphasis will continue on integrating gender-based violence (GBV) risk mitigation, addressing needs of adolescents, women, girls and children with disabilities in humanitarian settings and knowledge management on humanitarian action. Interventions will connect resilience and humanitarian efforts within ECARO’s broader flagship and result areas, ensuring resilience of communities, systems and services to future shocks.
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.