7 in 10 children on the move are under 11 years old in Latin America and the Caribbean

UNICEF seeks to raise US$ 711.5 million to provide lifesaving assistance to most vulnerable children and families in the region

11 December 2023
Migrants walk along the road leading from El Pescadero, Danlí to Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras
UNICEF/UNI480136/Membreño

PANAMA CITY, 12 December 2023 - In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), seven out of ten children on the move are under 11 years old, according to UNICEF estimates.[1] The region has one of the most complex child migration situations, including growing and interconnected migration flows, coupled with internal displacement, violence and climate crises.

“This year in Latin America and the Caribbean, children on the move reached a record high through the main migration routes. Even more worrisome, the largest group of migrant children consists of children under 11 years old. This younger group of migrants is particularly at risk of suffering from malnutrition, infectious diseases, family separation and different forms of abuse,said Garry Conille, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

As a part of the Humanitarian Action for Children appeal, UNICEF asks for support to address the emergency and long-term needs of the most vulnerable children and women in LAC, including not only the needs of children on the move, but also the needs of internally displaced people, violence-affected children and those affected by climate hazards.

Next year the El Niño phenomenon is expected to be even more devastating, bringing drought to Central America and heavy rains in South America. Children will be the first to lose access to health, nutrition, education, and protection. These extreme weather conditions will create a domino effect of limited access to safe water, increased levels of food insecurity, and malnutrition for children,added Conille.

Thanks to the contributions of donors in 2023, UNICEF and its partners on the ground continued their efforts to reach around 5.2 million migrants and refugees, by providing access to primary healthcare, vaccines, nutrition services, water and sanitation facilities, education, as well as psychosocial support, alternative care, and the reunification of unaccompanied children with their families, among other child protection services.

In 2024, an estimated 16.4 million children in LAC will need humanitarian support related to ongoing crises, including migration flows and internal displacement, violence and humanitarian needs related to disasters. To address the most vulnerable in the region, UNICEF appeals for US$ 711.5 million to support the overall emergency preparedness and response to emerging and ongoing crises, including providing life-saving services to vulnerable people affected by armed violence, and providing children and their families with access to essential services throughout their migration journey and integrated interventions to facilitate children’s access to education, health and protection services within host communities.


[1] UNICEF estimations based on surveys rolled out in Chile, Colombia, and Costa Rica in October – November 2023.

Media contacts

Laurent Duvillier
Regional Chief of Communication
UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean
Tel: + 507 3017393
Tel: + 507 6169 9886
Sendai Zea
Communication Specialist (Emergencies)
UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean
Tel: +507 6821 0843

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