Humanitarian Action for Children 2012


© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-1646/Pirozzi

A girl receives a dose of vitamin A during a UNICEF-assisted nutrition screening in Anseba Region. Eritreans continue to be affected by drought, poverty and the political impasse with neighbouring Ethiopia.

Children and Women in Crisis

Children and women in Eritrea remain vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity resulting from drought and the continued political impasse with neighbouring Ethiopia. UNICEF is taking a lead role in assisting 370,000 children affected by these emergencies within the humanitarian sectors of health, nutrition, and water and sanitation. Despite changes in the level of cooperation between the United Nations and the Government of Eritrea and the limited number of partnerships within the country, UNICEF remains a critical broker between the Government and bilateral donors in improving the well-being of the vulnerable population, especially children and women.

Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012

Although a lack of updated and reliable data on the humanitarian situation remains a challenge, field observations indicate dire humanitarian consequences for children and women due to continuing levels of undernutrition, poor sanitation coverage and physical risks associated with exposure to landmines and unexploded ordnance.  Although the cluster approach has not been activated in Eritrea, UNICEF plays a lead role in the nutrition and WASH sectors and actively participates in the health and child protection sectors. In 2012, UNICEF will support the Government of Eritrea in responding to humanitarian needs to achieve the following goals:

Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011

In 2011, UNICEF estimated that US$14,075,000 was needed to fund its work in Eritrea. As of end October 2011, US$8,247,480 (59 per cent) had been received. Complemented by other funding sources, UNICEF Eritrea achieved results for women and children. Measles vaccination was given to 72.5 per cent of children under 1. Nearly 9,000 out of an estimated 12,800 children with severe acute malnutrition were treated in facility- and community-based therapeutic feeding programmes, and more than 21,000 out of 67,500 moderately malnourished children were reached through supplementary feeding programmes. Some 8,000 out of a programmatic goal of 20,000 people gained access to safe drinking water in the Anseba, Gash Barka and Maekel regions. UNICEF reached its goal of 10,000 vulnerable families or newly resettled families/returnees in Debub and Gash Barka having access to sanitation through the Community-Led Total Sanitation approach. Nearly 13,000 out of 21,000 out-of-school children gained access to education through mobile schools and complementary education programmes in the Anseba, Gash Barka, Northern Red Sea and Southern Red Sea regions. Approximately 260,000 out of 300,000 children 6–18 years old and 13,000 out of 100,000 women living in war-impacted communities received mine-risk education.

Funding Requirements for 2012

UNICEF is requesting US$10,200,000 to support life-saving interventions in the sectors of health, nutrition, WASH and child protection for the 370,000 children suffering from ongoing poverty, food insecurity and natural hazards such as droughts and floods. The consequences of underfunding are significant, and include a potential nutritional crisis among children, as is the case in other countries within the Horn of Africa.

More information on humanitarian action planned for 2012 can be found at