UNICEF issues largest-ever emergency funding appeal in Latin America and the Caribbean

US$255.9 million needed for 2.7 million children hit by emergencies in the region

03 December 2019
© UNICEF_UN0330459_Párraga

PANAMA/GENEVA, 4 December 2019 – UNICEF today released its largest-ever emergency funding appeal in Latin America and the Caribbean to reach 2.7[1] million children in need with life-saving support across the region.

Latin American and the Caribbean region is requesting US$ 255.9 million to ramp up its regional humanitarian strategy for several crisis affecting children’s rights. This funding will enable UNICEF to provide urgent assistance to children in Venezuela (US$ 153.2 million), countries affected by the migration outflow from Venezuela (US$ 64.6 million) and Haiti (US$ 18.6 million).

As part of a global US$ 4.2 billion 2020 emergency appeal aimed at reaching 59 million children in 64 countries, the regional appeal will also help support preparedness and response to situations emerging in other countries in the region, including migration, violence or extreme weather throughout Central America, among other emergencies (US$ 19.5 million).

 “In 2019, the estimated number of people in need of humanitarian assistance across Latin America and the Caribbean doubled compared with last year. We estimate that violence, inequality, migration and extreme weather events will drive about 7 million children to seek and depend on emergency aid in 2020. They often suffer first and suffer most,” said Bernt Aasen, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“In an extremely volatile environment such as Latin America and the Caribbean, adapting and responding to unexpected yet pressing humanitarian needs as they evolve is critical. Raising flexible funding is essential for UNICEF to rapidly reach every child, everywhere and anytime,” Aasen concluded.

Globally UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children sets out the agency’s 2020 appeal and its work to provide conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and protection services. Overall, including adults, the appeal covers emergency support to 95 million people.

“Around the world today, we’re seeing the largest number of children in need of emergency assistance since we began record-keeping. One in four children lives in a country affected by conflict or disaster”, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore after releasing the biggest ask of donors yet, representing 3.5 times the funds requested in 2010. “Historic numbers of children forcibly uprooted from their homes urgently require protection and support. Conflict remains the major driver, while hunger, infectious disease, and extreme weather events related to climate change force millions of others to seek lifesaving aid.”

[1] Haiti: 366,000; Venezuela: 1,7 million; countries outside Venezuela: 633,000.


Notes to editors:

In 2020, working alongside its partners, UNICEF targets in Latin America and the Caribbean include:

  • 2.7 million children to be reached in the region, out of 7 million in need.
  • 2.6 million people in Venezuela affected by the unfolding economic and political challenges, of which 2 million will benefit from access to safe water.
  • 1.3 million people in countries affected by Venezuelan migration flow in Latin America and the Caribbean, including over 630,000 children.
  • Nearly 650,000 people to be reached with humanitarian assistance in Haiti, of which 450,000 will benefit from access to safe water.
  • Maintaining zero cholera cases in Haiti, following Government's Plan for Cholera Elimination 2013–2022.

In the first 8 months of 2019, UNICEF and partners reached significant number of children in need across Latin America and the Caribbean. Specifically:

  • 226,000 children across Latin America and the Caribbean received education, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, counselling or social inclusion as part of UNICEF's response to the migration flows from Venezuela.
  • In Haiti, zero confirmed cholera cases since February 2019; more than 7,000 children and nearly 300 teachers benefited from WASH rehabilitation in schools damaged by the October 2018 earthquake.
  • 352,000 people gained access to safe drinking water in Venezuela; 250,000 children received vaccines against polio and 283,000 against measles.
  • 32,000 children gained access to vaccines and 66,000 children received psychosocial support, as part of UNICEF support to populations affected by the increased migration flows from Venezuela.


Photos and multimedia materials are available for download here.

Humanitarian Action for Children 2020 and individual appeals can be found here.

Media Contacts

Alfonso Fernández Reca
Regional Communication Specialist
UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean
Tel: +507 301-7373
Tel: +507 6941-2277


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/lac.

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