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UNICEF calls for urgently needed funds to help children affected by disasters in Asia Pacific

©UNICEF Philippines/2013/JMaitem
UNICEF staff and volunteers unload hygiene kits for distribution to families affected by Typhoon Yolanda

BANGKOK, 21 February 2014 – UNICEF appealed today for almost US$100 million to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to 2.75 million children in East Asia and the Pacific who face conflict, natural disasters and other emergencies in 2014.

This call is part of a global appeal for funds to support children in emergencies, outlined in UNICEF's Humanitarian Action for Children 2014 report, launched today. The report highlights the daily challenges faced by children in humanitarian crises, the support required to help them survive and thrive, and the results that are possible even in the most difficult circumstances.

Globally, UNICEF is seeking US$2.2 billion to provide emergency humanitarian help to 59 million children around the world, including in South Sudan and Syria. In East Asia and the Pacific, the focus is on the Philippines, Myanmar and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"Children are always the most vulnerable group in emergencies, facing a high risk of violence, exploitation, disease and neglect," UNICEF's Director of Emergency Programmes Ted Chaiban said. "But when support is made available, we can change the lives of children for the better."

In East Asia and the Pacific, UNICEF is appealing for US$57 million for 7.4 million children in the Philippines, US$22.2 million for 252,000 children in Myanmar, and US$20.3 million for 1.75 million children in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"East Asia and the Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world, with typhoons, earthquakes and floods every year," said UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific Dan Toole. "In the Philippines, we have seen a strong response to Typhoon Haiyan, but we still need to contribute to building the country’s resilience for future disasters, as well as responding to humanitarian needs in other parts of the country."

"In Myanmar we are responding to protracted displacement crises in Kachin and Rakhine, and in DPR Korea there is an ongoing crisis of undernutrition," Dan Toole continued. "All of these emergencies have a massive impact on children and their families."

In Myanmar, the protracted displacement crisis has prevented thousands of children from attending school, and has exacerbated malnutrition levels. A survey conducted in Rakhine in December 2012 indicated a global acute malnutrition rate of 14.4 per cent and a severe acute malnutrition rate of 4.5 per cent among children in rural camps. 

In 2013, UNICEF and partners' response focused on delivering emergency aid, while building local capacity. For example, a polio immunization programme in Rakhine reached 300,000 children in camps and villages. Nutrition screening included camps and host communities in Rakhine, and UNICEF supported the building or rehabilitation of temporary learning spaces serving more than 5,300 school children.

Contributions to UNICEF’s 2014 appeal will allow the organization to build on its work in 2013, during which the following results were achieved globally: 

  • 24.5 million children immunized against measles
  • Nearly 20 million people provided with access to safe water for drinking, cooking and bathing
  • 2.7 million children provided with access to improved education, both formal and non-formal
  • 1.9 million children treated for severe acute malnutrition
  • 935,000 children reached with psychological support. 

Funds raised by the appeal will also help UNICEF in its work with partners to strengthen communities' abilities to cope with future conflict or natural disaster shocks, by reinforcing national preparedness systems and developing resilience among children and communities.

UNICEF particularly seeks resources that are not ear-marked for specific programmes or emergencies. This allows the agency to respond to underfunded emergencies or where the needs are greatest; to apply innovative solutions to complex situations; and to integrate early recovery programming in large-scale emergencies, many of which affect several countries simultaneously.

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The Humanitarian Action for Children 2014 appeal and related country information can be found here: 

Notes to editors: The 50 countries and areas featured in the Humanitarian Action for Children 2014 appeal are highlighted due to the scale of these crises, the urgency of their impact on children and women, the complexity of the response, and the capacity to respond.



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