UNICEF seeks $3.3 billion in emergency assistance for 48 million children caught up in conflict and other crises

Malnutrition poses "silent threat" to children, agency's 2017 appeal says

TORONTO and NEW YORK and GENEVA, Jan. 31, 2017 /CNW/ - Forty-eight million children living through some of the world's worst conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies will benefit from UNICEF's 2017 appeal, which was launched today.

From Syria to Iraq and Yemen, from South Sudan to Nigeria, children are under direct attack, their homes, schools and communities in ruins, their hopes and futures hanging in the balance. In total, almost one in four of the world's children lives in a country affected by conflict or disaster.

"The fact that this is the largest humanitarian appeal in UNICEF's 70-year history is tragic, because it means more children than ever before are suffering from violence or disaster," said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. "On the other hand, the fact that we know exactly how to reach every child and provide them with the life-saving support they need to survive and thrive, should offer some hope. We just need the resources to reach them."

Children across 48 countries in urgent need

UNICEF's Humanitarian Action for Children sets out the agency's 2017 appeal totaling $3.3 billion, and its goals in providing children with access to safe water, nutrition, education, health and protection in 48 countries across the globe.

"In country after country, war, natural disaster and climate change are driving ever more children from their homes, exposing them to violence, disease and exploitation," said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF's Director of Emergency Programs.

Malnutrition silent threat to millions

An estimated 7.5 million children will face severe acute malnutrition across the majority of appeal countries, including almost half a million each in northeast Nigeria and Yemen.

"Malnutrition is a silent threat to millions of children," said Fontaine. "The damage it does can be irreversible, robbing children of their mental and physical potential. In its worst form, severe malnutrition can be deadly."  

The largest single component of the appeal is for children and families caught up in the Syria conflict, soon to enter its seventh year. UNICEF is seeking a total of $1.4 billion to support Syrian children inside Syria and those living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

Water, education, vaccinations top 2017 priorities

In total, working alongside its partners, UNICEF's other priorities in 2017 are:

  • Providing over 19 million people with access to safe water;
  • Reaching 9.2 million children with formal or non-formal basic education;
  • Immunizing 8.3 million children against measles;
  • Providing psychosocial support to over two million children;
  • Treating 3.1 million children with severe acute malnutrition.

Canada among top 10 donors to UNICEF

The Government of Canada has consistently been among the top 10 donors for UNICEF, including to its emergency responses.

"Thanks to the generosity of Canada and Canadians, we're able to reach more of the world's most vulnerable children," said Morley. "It speaks volumes to who we are as a nation, and to the values of compassion and responsibility for our fellow global citizens that we hold so dear."

In the first ten months of 2016, as a result of UNICEF's support:

  • 13.6 million people had access to safe water;
  • 9.4 million children were vaccinated against measles;
  • 6.4 million children accessed some form of education;
  • 2.2 million children were treated for severe acute malnutrition.

Notes to Editors:

The Humanitarian Action for Children 2017 appeal can be found here: www.unicef.org/HAC2017

Video and photos are available for download here: http://weshare.unicef.org/Package/2AMZIF0Y3VA

About UNICEF
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.

SOURCE UNICEF Canada

To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/January2017/31/c2954.html

For further information: For interviews or more information, please contact: Stefanie Carmichael, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8866, 437-345-6324 (mobile), scarmichael@unicef.ca

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