© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0012/El Baba

Children stand amidst bombed buildings in the city of Rafah, during theIsraeli military incursion that began on 27 December 2008, into the GazaStrip in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.


Amongst the many and different crises that were witnessed in the Middle East and North Africa region during 2008 the most critical was the continuous gravity of humanitarian situation in Iraq and in neighbouring countries, the continued suffering of Palestinian people as well as the deterioration of the security situation in Darfur (Sudan). In addition to the above, the instability in Lebanon and Yemen, the terrorist threats, the impact of high food prices in the region and the vulnerability to natural disasters are some of the trends that will require close monitoring in 2009.  


The UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office (MENARO) provides cluster technical and financial support for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) coordinated by a dedicated WASH emergency specialist. The emergency telecommunications cluster has implemented staff training and prepositioned supplies. Technical specialists are in place in MENARO, providing support to nutrition, education and child protection clusters.

MENARO will work with Country Offices and partners in the region to increase effective and timely preparedness and response capacity to meet the needs of women and children living in instable environments. MENARO-supported activities will focus on Iraq and the subregion, including Jordan, Lebanon, occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen.

Emergency Preparedness and Capacity-Building: MENARO will support countries considered most at risk to practise advanced response planning, including at subregional and subnational levels and within an inter-agency context, especially in areas where UNICEF has global cluster leadership or responsibility; and expand staff and partners’ skills through continued efforts on training on emergency preparedness and response.

Emergency Response: MENARO will work on strengthening the response capacity mechanisms for the region, setting up systems for fast mobilization of resources (human, funding, supplies) in case of crisis; and support the promotion of stronger performance monitoring systems in emergency. 

Coordination and Partnership: MENARO will continue its coordination efforts with regards to the subregional implications of the Iraq and oPt crises specifically, promoting intercountry and inter-agency coordination and sharing good practices; and also strengthen partnership with regional entities.

Middle East and North Africa Region (MENAR) Emergency Needs for 2009*
Sector US$
Emergency Preparedness and Capacity-Building 200,000
Emergency Response 300,000
Coordination and Partnership 100,000
Total** 600,000

* Funds received against this appeal will be used to respond to both the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women as outlined above. If UNICEF should receive funds in excess of the medium-term funding requirements for this emergency, UNICEF will use those funds to support other, underfunded emergencies.
** The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.