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.
- Myanmar continues to experience a severe – and worsening – humanitarian and human rights crisis. Conflict and violence have escalated across the country, impacting children and their families and displacing more than 1.4 million people. The ongoing political crisis has been coupled with economic challenges, increasing people’s vulnerability. An estimated 17.6 million people, including 5.6 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance.
- Access of children and their families to such essential services as health care, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and education is severely constrained. These interrelated challenges are threatening children's survival, development and well-being.
- UNICEF’s humanitarian strategy focuses on working with communities, local and international partners and with all stakeholders to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance and ensure critical services reach children in need.
- UNICEF requires US$169.6 million to respond to the multisectoral humanitarian needs of children in Myanmar.
Key planned results for 2023
750,000 children vaccinated against measles
620,000 children/caregivers accessing community-based mental health and psychosocial support
750,000 children accessing formal or non-formal education, including early learning
800,000 people reached with critical WASH supplies
Funding requirements for 2023
Country needs and strategy
Children and their families continue to suffer due to widespread and deepening conflict in Myanmar. The situation further deteriorated in 2022, with increased fighting taking place nationwide between the Myanmar Armed Forces, ethnic armed organizations and more than 600 local defence groups. Around 17.6 million people – almost one third of the population – are in need of humanitarian assistance. The number of children and their families displaced by the conflict has increased by 60 per cent since December 2021 to more than 1.4 million people, including the 330,400 who had been living in protracted displacement even prior to the coup that took place in February 2021. Communities in the Sagaing region are the hardest hit, with nearly 612,400 people displaced as of October 2022. The resurgence of fighting in Rakhine State between government armed forces and a large ethnic armed organization has imperilled the situation of the nearly 220,000 people living in protracted displacement there.
There are also extremely vulnerable non-displaced people, including 417,000 stateless Rohingyas, along with communities affected by conflict, insecurity and rising poverty in rural areas and cities. Cross-border movements are fluid and bidirectional. Those who fled to Thailand and then returned to Myanmar remain displaced within the country because they have not returned to places of origin.
Grave violations of child rights have increased in 2022 compared with 2021: for example, the number of children killed and maimed between January and September 2022 more than doubled compared with 2021, largely due to indiscriminate use of heavy weapons, airstrikes and explosive ordnance. There has also been an eightfold increase in the number of abductions in 2022. Attacks on schools and hospitals have continued at alarming levels, while recruitment and use of children by all armed actors remains of serious concern. Millions of children and adolescents are deprived of the right to education because their safe access to education has been disrupted.
The ongoing conflict has undermined the delivery of child health services, including routine immunization and the response to severe wasting. This has lead to a regression in child health outcomes in the country. The disruption in child immunization services also creates longer-term risks of increased disease prevalence.
Access of conflict-affected populations to services and delivery of humanitarian assistance has been further constrained by restrictions imposed on movement of both people and goods. Camp closures and forced return and relocation remain key protection concerns for displaced people. The safety and protection of humanitarian and front-line workers has also become a serious concern, as they are increasingly targeted by parties to the conflict and subject to arbitrary arrests and detentions.
UNICEF humanitarian strategy in Myanmar is aligned with the inter-agency 2023 Humanitarian Needs Overview and Humanitarian Response Plan for Myanmar. Myanmar has been designated a Level 2 emergency, and UNICEF will maintain its nationwide focus in 2023, capitalizing on its countrywide presence through seven field offices that cover all conflict-affected states and regions. This field presence will enable UNICEF to work at the local, provincial and national levels to navigate the considerable operational complexities in the country to reach the most vulnerable communities. In its response, UNICEF will prioritize displaced children and their families as well as non-displaced crisis-affected children and communities.
UNICEF will support the expansion of humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people through its leadership roles in five inter-agency clusters and areas of responsibilities. Through these mechanisms, UNICEF will support coordination at national and subnational levels and continue to build engagement with and support to local partners.
As millions of children continue to be exposed to violence, abuse and exploitation in Myanmar, UNICEF will support children’s access to mental health and psychosocial support and quality legal aid; contribute to mitigating the risks posed by landmines and other explosive ordnance remnants of war; and facilitate monitoring and reporting of grave violations of children's rights. UNICEF will provide parenting support to help caregivers better protect and care for their children. UNICEF will also protect children from falling into extreme poverty by providing unconditional cash grants, using the country's Multidimensional Disadvantage Index as a targeting model for children under age 2, including those with disabilities, in selected townships affected by crises.
UNICEF will increase children’s access to safe learning environments, including through complementary learning opportunities for pre-primary, primary, secondary school-age children, as well as non-formal education for children who were out of the formal system even prior to the current crises.
UNICEF will provide life-saving emergency medical supplies and services to pregnant women, new mothers and children. With nationwide routine immunization suspended, UNICEF will work to carry out routine immunizations at the community level. WASH programming will focus on delivering such life-saving assistance as the delivery of clean water to vulnerable households. UNICEF will screen and treat children with severe wasting, as well as provide life-saving micronutrient supplements; the organization will also help to strengthen infant and young child feeding practices to prevent severe wasting and related mortality among children and women. UNICEF will integrate into its programmes initiatives to ensure protection from sexual exploitation and abuse, mitigate the risk of gender-based violence and promote accountability to affected populations. UNICEF will use evidence-based social and behaviour change strategies to reach out to communities with critical information and knowledge through multiple platforms and risk communication and community engagement efforts.
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 Myanmar; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.