Humanitarian Action for Children
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provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition,
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- Madagascar is facing multiple severe humanitarian crises affecting nearly 10 million people. The consequences of climate change are acutely felt on the island, particularly through increasingly unmanageable natural disasters.
- Failed rains and prolonged drought in the south of the island have left nearly 1.5 million people food insecure. In 2022, an estimated 500,000 children under 5 will suffer from acute malnutrition, and 110,000 will be severely malnourished. Urgent action is needed to address the nutrition crisis.
- Beyond the drought, Madagascar remains vulnerable to other natural disasters, including cyclones, flooding, as well as disease outbreaks. The socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be felt in 2022, affecting Madagascar's fragile economy and extreme poverty rates.
- In 2022, UNICEF's response will be multi-pronged and incorporate nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, social protection, education, child protection, gender-based violence (GBV) and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA).
- UNICEF is requesting US$40 million in 2022 to reach 2.5 million people, including 1.2 million children, and deliver life-saving assistance.
Key planned results for 2022
110,000 children admitted for treatment for severe acute malnutrition
500,000 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
13,000 children / caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support
29,000 household reached with cash transfers through government system with UNICEF support
Funding requirements for 2022
Country needs and strategy
In 2021, the chronic drought in the south of the island became an acute one, as rains failed, an entire growing season was decimated, and populations starved. This situation will continue into 2022. The diminishing possibility for human habitation in southern regions is a direct consequence of climate change. 1.3 million people were left food insecure. An estimated 500,000 children under 5 years of age will suffer from acute malnutrition between May 2021 and April 2022. Of these, 110,000 will be severely malnourished.
Water scarcity and prices have increased in drought-affected regions and in Antananarivo. In the worst case, people from poorer rural areas can be charged 8 times more than those from urban areas for a 20-litre jerrycan. Deterioration of water quality is anticipated due to low aquifer reserves and recharges. Marginalized children and their families’ access to WASH services will be further limited. Urban populations are also at risk of potential shortages of potable water.
Access to healthcare services remains limited due to an overstretched system and disrupted services during COVID-19. Less than 1 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, so Madagascar will continue to feel the effects of the pandemic in 2022. Plague, malaria outbreaks, and dengue fever are also prevalent. The socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 means that the number of people living in poverty has increased by 2.3 million, including 1.3 million children.
Access to education was once again interrupted in 2021 due to a second wave of COVID-19. An estimated 7.2 million children 12 missed out on learning opportunities when schools closed between March and June. Numbers of children out of school are already high, with 24 per cent of primary-age children and 73 per cent of secondary-age children not in school. The pandemic and related socioeconomic challenges have likely worsened this situation.
Increased economic pressures, domestic stress, poverty and food insecurity have contributed to decreasing households' resilience and exposing children and women to violence, abuse and exploitation. UNICEF expects that incidences of child marriage, child labor and various forms of gender-based violence (GBV) have increased.
The humanitarian crisis has at once reduced households’ resilience and potentially pushed them to resort to negative coping strategies mainly affecting women and children, while also exacerbating the chronic weaknesses of systems for monitoring, preventing and responding to violence, including GBV.
UNICEF will scale up its response to reflect the anticipated humanitarian needs of children and their families, using newly established regional offices in drought-affected regions to accelerate coordination and management of the humanitarian response. UNICEF will reinforce its immediate response (intensity and geographic scope) while also ensuring increased resilience of affected communities through early warning approaches and risk reduction, building resilience of populations and systems, including through behavior change communication, gender mainstreaming and climate-sensitive actions. UNICEF co-leads nutrition, WASH, education and social protection clusters.
UNICEF and partners, including from food and health sectors, will reinforce prevention of and response to acute malnutrition, access to treatment (including via mobile clinics), systems and supporting nutrition surveillance in facilities and at community level. This will be complemented by an integrated package of life-saving health interventions targeting pregnant women, newborns and children. The package will be adapted to the evolving humanitarian situation and combined with Health-WASH approaches that incorporate infection, prevention and control interventions in health and treatment centers.
The WASH response will include cluster coordination, contingency planning, capacity building for emergency and hazard management, provision of water and hygiene promotion and supplies through government subsidies and NGOs. UNICEF will provide social protection support to affected households. Shock-responsive social protection response will be put in place through the national social protection programme and in coordination with the Cash Working Group.
Education will focus on safe back-to-school and catch-up programmes, inclusion focusing on disabilities and community involvement. UNICEF will advocate for school reopening and strengthen education in emergency (EiE) coordination mechanisms, and capacity building in addition to tracking learning outcomes, distribution of learning and recreation material and support to prevention of GBV in and around schools.
Protection services for children and women will include community dialogues and other awareness raising initiatives to prevent violence, and integrated care and support for children and women who have experienced violence, including psychosocial support. This will require strengthened coordination among sectors and capacity building of services providers.
UNICEF is working to improve the identification of reporting on and referrals for violence, including GBV. Given the fact that women, girls and boys are at heightened risk for GBV including sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) during emergencies, UNICEF will use a cross-sectoral approach in all GBV and PSEA activities to ensure that the risk of GBV and SEA are reduced, emergency responders can effectively assist and refer survivors to appropriate services, and community awareness is raised on safe and accessible reporting and referral systems.
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 Madagascar; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.