UNICEF appeals for US$10.3 billion emergency funding to support children affected by conflict, catastrophe and climate crises around the world

Eastern and Southern Africa will need more than US$1.6 billion to deliver life-saving services to at least 27 million children in the region

06 December 2022

GENEVA/NEW YORK, 5 December 2022 – UNICEF today launched a US$10.3 billion emergency funding appeal to reach more than 173 million people – including 110 million children – affected by humanitarian crises, the enduring effects of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide and the growing threat of climate-impacted severe weather events.

“Today, there are more children in need of humanitarian assistance than at any other time in recent history,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “Across the globe, they are facing a deadly mix of crises, from conflict and displacement to disease outbreaks and soaring rates of malnutrition. Meanwhile, climate change is making these crises worse and unleashing new ones. It is critical that we have the right support in place to reach children with decisive and timely humanitarian action.”

This year began with an estimated 274 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. Throughout the year, these needs grew considerably, largely due to conflict, including the war in Ukraine; to rising food insecurity; to threats of famine brought about by climate-related and other factors; and to the devastating floods in Pakistan. Around the world, a resurgence of disease outbreaks including cholera and measles bring an additional danger to children in emergencies.

The lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and global economic disruption and instability, including inflation and the rising cost of food and fuel, have had a devastating impact on the lives and wellbeing of millions of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Climate change is also worsening the scale and intensity of emergencies. The last 10 years were the hottest on record and the number of climate-related disasters has tripled in the last 30 years. Today, over 400 million children live in areas of high or extremely high-water vulnerability.

At the same time, children are crossing borders in record numbers, with their families or separated from them, or unaccompanied. Altogether, nearly 37 million children worldwide are displaced due to cascading crises, a level of displaced children not seen since the Second World War.

In Eastern and Southern Africa, UNICEF will require more than US$1.6 billion in 2023 to deliver life-saving aid to more than 39.8 million people, including at least 27 million children. Key hotspots include:

  • The Horn of Africa where children are experiencing the most severe drought in recent history across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, as well as conflict in Northern Ethiopia. UNICEF has revised its emergency life-saving appeal across the three countries from US$879 million in September 2022 to US$ 1 billion to cover 2023.   
  • Angola ($33 million), South Sudan ($217 million), Uganda ($43 million), and Zimbabwe ($48 million) where children are enduring drought, floods and other emergencies and are in urgent need of increased humanitarian support.

As part of its Humanitarian Action for Children, which sets out the agency’s 2023 appeal, UNICEF plans to reach:

  • 8.2 million children with treatment for severe acute malnutrition.
  • 28 million children with measles vaccinations.
  • 63.7 million people with access to safe water for drinking and domestic needs.
  • 23.5 million children, adolescents, and caregivers with access to mental health and psychosocial support.
  • 16.2 million children and women with access to gender-based violence risk mitigation, prevention and/or response interventions.
  • 32 million people with safe and accessible channels to report sexual exploitation and abuse by personnel who provide assistance to affected population.
  • 25.7 million children with formal or non-formal education, including early learning.

The top five appeals by funding requirements for 2023 are for:

  • Afghanistan                                                 US$1.65 billion
  • Ukraine and Refugee Response                     US$1.058 billion
  • Syrian Refugee Crisis                                   US$867 million
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo                 US$862 million
  • Ethiopia                                                      US$674 million

“The devastating impacts of climate change are an ever-present threat to children,” said Russell. “Which is why we are prioritizing climate adaptation and resilience building as part of our humanitarian response. This will help us to reach children living through today’s crises, while also helping them and their communities prepare for those yet to come.”

Putting national and local organizations at the centre of humanitarian operations is a key strategy in UNICEF’s humanitarian response. Key results in 2022 were made possible by UNICEF’s partnerships, including with humanitarian country teams, UN agencies, civil society and non-governmental organizations, national and local responders and resource partners. Notable results include:

  • 23.8 million children vaccinated against measles.
  • 2.6 million children treated for severe acute malnutrition.
  • 28 million children accessing formal or non-formal education, including early learning.
  • 13 million children, adolescents and caregivers accessing community-based mental health and psychosocial support.
  • 25.9 million people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water for drinking and domestic needs.
  • 5.5 million people with access to safe channels to report sexual exploitation and abuse.
  • 4.2 million women, girls and boys accessing Gender Based Violence (GBV) risk mitigation, prevention and/or response interventions 

With humanitarian needs at an unprecedented high, UNICEF is calling on partners to increase support to life-saving humanitarian response for children, maximizing the flexibility of this funding, prioritize climate-adaptive anticipatory action and preparedness efforts, urgently adopt no-regrets approaches to preparedness and response, and ensure equitable and principled humanitarian assistance.

Notes for editors:

The top-five under-funded appeals for 2022 included:

  • Libya 91 per cent unfunded
  • Cameroon 89 per cent unfunded
  • Lebanon 89 per cent unfunded
  • European multi-country refugee response 88 per cent unfunded
  • Guinea 85 per cent unfunded

HAC Overview and individual appeals will be available for download here

Find out more about UNICEF’s work here

Multimedia materials available here: https://weshare.unicef.org/Package/2AM4080FDL1J

For more information, please contact:

Joe English, UNICEF New York, +1 917 893 0692 jenglish@unicef.org
Nadia Samie-Jacobs, UNICEF Africa Services Unit, +27 72 777 9399 nsamie@unicef.org


Media contacts

Joe English
Tel: +1 917 893 0692
Nadia Samie-Jacobs
Communication Officer
UNICEF Africa Services Unit
Tel: +27 72 777 9399


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

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