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 Nepal, 1.8 million people, including 752,400 children, will need humanitarian assistance in 2022 to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 and natural hazards. Nepal is highly prone to annual recurrent natural hazards such as floods and landslides. The humanitarian and socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 and monsoon in 2021 have been unprecedented, as access to services such as nutrition, education and healthcare have been severely disrupted, exacerbating the situation for the most vulnerable households.
- UNICEF requires US$27.3 million to reach 973,530 people (496,500 women), including 431,033 children (211,206 girls), with mental health and psychosocial support, prevention of gender-based violence, and access to critical life-saving nutritious supplements, primary healthcare, safe water and education.
- UNICEF Nepal will respond to immediate humanitarian needs with life-saving and urgent assistance while addressing underlying risks and causes of vulnerability to disasters through building back systems and resilience with multi-sectoral approaches.
Key planned targets for 2022
761,850 children and women accessing health care
252,000 people reached with critical WASH supplies
43,730 women and children accessing gender-based violence mitigation, prevention, response
225,000 children accessing educational services
Funding requirements for 2022
Country needs and strategy
Being a high-risk country, Nepal faces frequent natural disasters, including floods, landslides and earthquakes and disease outbreaks such as cholera, dengue fever and COVID-19 disrupting children and their families' access to education, water and sanitation, health, livelihood and protection services
Nepal experienced an alarming second surge of COVID-19 in April-May 2021, having the highest reproduction rate of COVID-19 and the fifth-highest test positivity rate globally. Nepal’s previously weak health system was overwhelmed. The humanitarian and socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 have been unprecedented. In 2021, Nepal also experienced a prolonged monsoon season affecting almost the whole country, claiming 127 lives and creating additional humanitarian needs. While it is difficult to predict the impacts of COVID-19 and natural disasters in 2022, projections anticipate approximately 1.8 million people, including 752,400 children, will need humanitarian assistance, and there could be overlapping impacts on families and children with limited means. Limited COVID-19 vaccination coverage could increase the humanitarian need. Currently, 30 per cent of the population above 15 years of age has been fully vaccinated, while the plan is to achieve full coverage by 2022.
The COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately impacted children, aggravating child poverty and hampering access to essential services. Job losses (earnings, livelihoods or both) were reported by 33 per cent of families and 34 per cent experienced food insecurity during the acute pandemic phases. COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions impacted care-seeking behaviour of caregivers, as only 67 per cent took their children to the health centres to access health and nutrition services. Between 2019 and 2020, maternal and neonatal deaths were estimated to increase by 16.7 and 7.6 per cent, respectively. One quarter (25 per cent) of the health facilities lack adequate infection prevention and control (IPC) mechanisms. Maintaining continuity of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supplies and services in the households, communities and institutions has been challenging. The effective delivery of nutrition services to children under 5 years of age and pregnant and lactating women has been significantly impacted, as health staff were fully engaged with COVID-19 response. The socioeconomic impact due to the multiple emergencies has increased mental health and psychosocial problems as well as increased risk of gender-based violence, particularly among women, children, elderly and persons with disability. Only 18 per cent of community schools were conducting virtual lessons, worsening learning equities as a result of the digital divide. Schools are gradually opening after being closed for 281 days, while nearly all 8.3 million students (49 per cent girls) have experienced substantial loss in learning.
UNICEF's humanitarian action will be guided by a comprehensive, integrated and multi-sectoral humanitarian strategy and UNICEF’s Core Commitments for Children (CCC) in Humanitarian Action encompassing three broad dimensions: (i) responding to immediate humanitarian needs for saving lives and alleviating suffering (ii) addressing underlying risks and causes of vulnerability to disasters through system strengthening and resilience-building and (iii) mitigating social and economic impacts through mid- to long-term recovery programme for building back better. The humanitarian programme targets the most vulnerable including children, adolescent girls, women and people with disabilities, particularly in areas facing the double threat of COVID-19 and natural disasters.
UNICEF will facilitate the access of primary healthcare services by children and women and will ensure adequate infection prevention and control mechanisms in health facilities, education institutions and communities. Children and communities will be supported to access a sufficient quantity of safe water for drinking and domestic needs and use safe and inclusive sanitation facilities. Support will be provided to government and partners for development and implementation of waste management policy. The capacities of government and partners will be reinforced for the prevention and treatment of severe acute malnutrition and to protect girls and boys from violence, abuse, exploitation and discrimination. UNICEF will support government efforts for reopening of schools and implementing safe school protocol. A cash-“plus” behaviour change approach as part of mid- and longer-term systematic shock-responsive social protection and social behaviour change efforts will be promoted.
UNICEF will work closely with the Government at the federal, provincial and local levels and with civil society organizations to build national emergency capacities for timely response and support localization. With its network of field offices, UNICEF is able to lead on needs assessment, response and relief coordination efforts following a disaster. UNICEF co-chairs the WASH, education, protection and nutrition clusters and the Risk Communication Working Group and is an active member of the health cluster and the Cash Coordination Group at national and provincial levels. The approach will close pre-existing gaps between humanitarian and development outcomes, mitigate risks and build resilience. The programming approach embraces cross-cutting issues including accountability to affected populations, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse of authority, interventions focused on gender-based violence, disability, inclusion and engagement of adolescents and youth in emergency preparedness and response. UNICEF will continue to work with children and young people for building their capacity as disaster risk reduction and climate champions.
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 Nepal; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.