Growing Demand To Help World’s Most Vulnerable Children
29 January 2013 at 9:44 am
A girl, carrying jerry cans of water, walks past a pile of debris, on a street in Aleppo. The city, which has been a site of prolonged fighting during the conflict, is experiencing frequent interruptions in its water supply. © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-1293/Romenzi
UNICEF’s emergency report Humanitarian Action for Children 2013 estimates the need for the world’s most vulnerable children will grow to $1.4 billion in 2013 across 45 countries.
UNICEF Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Norman Gillespie, said the current situation of children in Syria, where more than 2 million children are directly affected by the conflict, is a prime focus of where funds are needed.
“The needs for children in Syria are growing daily,” Dr Gillespie said.
“Despite the ongoing work of UNICEF and our partners within the country fighting greatly restricts our access to hundreds of thousands of children struggling to get enough food and clean water to survive let alone attend school or access health facilities.
“The numbers of internal displacements is growing amid an extraordinarily cold Northern Hemisphere winter. The challenges to protect the children of Syria are among the most difficult we have ever faced.
“And that’s just one conflict in which children are vulnerable,” he said, adding unrest in Mali and the Central African Republic since the beginning of 2013 put children at risk and eluding to the fact that UNICEF responds to numerous emergencies each year.
“We look to the international community, including the Australian government to support UNICEF’s humanitarian work.”
Australia contributed $13.7 million placing it ninth among the world’s donor countries. The largest proportion of humanitarian funding received by UNICEF in 2012 was from government donors, at 53 per cent.
“This is vital work. UNICEF is right now working in 45 countries where emergency humanitarian action is underway to save children’s lives,” Dr Gillespie said.
In 2012 UNICEF’s emergency programs assisted tens of millions of children. Programs immunised 38.3 million children against preventable diseases such as measles, polio and meningitis; treated 2 million children for malnutrition; supplied 12 million people with clean water; improved educational opportunities for 3 million children; and, delivered child protection services for 2.4 million children.