United Nations Children’s Fund on Tuesday launched a $3.3bn global appeal to cater for some 48million children caught in various conflicts and humanitarian emergencies across the world.
“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,” according to a statement by the aid agency.
It says 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 where insurgencies have displaced millions.
The statement added that most of the children faces malnutrition and possible death unless urgent steps are taken.
“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,” it quoted UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine, as saying.
Fontaine said damage done to such children by malnutrition can be irreversible, robbing them of their mental and physical potential.
The statement said 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, it added, is seeking a total of $1.4 billion to support Syrian children inside Syria and those living as refugees in neighbouring countries.
The statement said children are under direct attack in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South Sudan and Nigeria, with 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, according to the statement.