UNICEF seeks emergency assistance for 48 million children

| Updated Feb 21, 2018 at 11:47am


Children use a water point at the Muna Customs Camp for internally displaced persons in Maiduguri town, Borno State, Nigeria, July 2017. Photo: © UNICEF/Sokhin.


Enduring conflict continues to deepen in complexity in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, bringing new waves of violence and disruption for children and their families.

On Tuesday, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) launched an emergency appeal for $3.6 billion to provide lifesaving assistance in the face of what it describes as this "catastrophic humanitarian crisis".

Almost one in four children are now living in a country affected by conflict or disaster.

Manuel Fontaine, director of Emergency Programmes for UNICEF, explained that children cannot wait for wars to end, while their immediate survival and long-term future is at risk.

He added that unless the international community takes urgent action, these children face an "increasingly bleak future", while there was a "blatant disregard" for their lives.

One of the greatest threats to children is the spread of water-borne diseases, and 117 million people currently in emergency situations lack access to safe water.

"It is important to know that in many of the countries affected by conflict, actually more children die from water-borne diseases than actually die from the conflict."

UNICEF notes that despite the enormous need for funds, considerable progress has been made with access to water, sanitation, health care and education.