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Children in the Frontline: Launch of UNICEF's Arabic Humanitarian Action Report 2007

Amman, 29 March 2007 – UNICEF's Humanitarian Action Report 2007 calls on donors and the international community to contribute to a USD $635 million appeal to assist children and women in 33 natural disasters and complex emergencies worldwide. The Arabic report is being launched on April 3 in Dubai.

The report also describes the scope of ongoing interventions as well as budgetary needs to uphold fundamental relief operations in several developing countries where humanitarian partners and the UN system collaborate with a longer-term vision to strengthen human rights, governance, security, gender equality, human development and economic growth.

Arab celebrity and UNICEF's Regional Goodwill Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa, Mahmoud Kabil from Egypt will take to the podium at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development (DIHAD) Conference to highlight the situation of children in war-torn areas such as Lebanon, Sudan and the occupied Palestinian territories. He will also relate the region's panorama to persistent funding shortfalls which continue to inhibit far-reaching and sustainable humanitarian response.

Goodwill Ambassador Mahmoud Kabil will also refer to the growing number and frequency of emergencies in the region, in environments ever more hostile to humanitarian workers. Lawlessness and a rapid rise in the number of the internally displaced in Iraq; the reconstruction of Lebanon; insecurity and violence in the occupied Palestinian territories and the dire situation of children and women in Darfur will constitute important elements of Kabil's remarks at DIHAD's closing session on April 3rd.

UNICEF's global appeal in 2007 envisions 155 million for programmes the Middle East and North Africa, of which 122 million (78 per cent) is destined to cover humanitarian needs in North and South Sudan.

This year's report incorporates a funding proposal equaling 5.7  million for Lebanon, where several weeks of aerial bombardment and on-the-ground military action during the third quarter of 2006 left the basic road infrastructure in tatters, hundreds of public schools uninhabitable, the primary health care system broken down and millions of unexploded ordnance planted in impoverished villages and roads to school.

Syria represents a new addition to HAR this year, in consideration of the operations in support of an estimated 450,000 Iraqi refugees in the country, half of whom are children. Child immunization, maternal health, education and psychosocial counseling are factored into the humanitarian response plan, among others.
Humanitarian Action Report 2007 translates the diagnosis of crisis countries into funding requirements that are likely to tackle some of the distressing forms of violence and abuse being exerted against women and children: children who will most likely flee their war-torn countries or withdraw from school; infants and children under five who will remain unvaccinated; entire communities made inhospitable and vulnerable to the threats of war, disease and HIV/AIDS; and, in general, boys and girls at permanent risk of exploitation and abuse.

DIHAD 2007 will be held under the overall theme "New Perspectives on Prevailing Humanitarian Challenges". The conference will address lessons learned from the response to recent humanitarian crises and identify new tools in Humanitarian Information Management.



UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information and / or interviews, please contact:

Mr. Abdel-Rahman Ghandour
UNICEF MENA-RO Regional Communication Advisor
Mobile No.: +962-79-700-4567

Wolfgang Friedl
Communication Officer, UNICEF MENA-RO
Mobile No. +962-79-5732745




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