UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) — The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is seeking 6.4 billion U.S. dollars for 2021 to reach 300 million people, including 190 million children, its largest emergency funding appeal. The appeal is a 35 percent increase over this year, an indication of the expanding global humanitarian needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF said in a press release.
“When a devastating pandemic coincides with conflict, climate change, disaster and displacement, the consequences for children can be catastrophic,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Today we are facing a child rights emergency in which COVID-19 and other crises are combining to deprive children of their health and well-being.”
This unprecedented situation demands a similarly unprecedented response, she said. “We are urging our donors to join us so that together we can help the world’s children get through this darkest of times and prevent a lost generation.”
Routine immunization services for children have been disrupted in more than 60 countries, while nearly 250 million students worldwide are still affected by COVID-19 school closures, the fund said, giving some examples for increased expenditures. Economic instability disrupts essential services and makes it harder for families to make ends meet and increases the risk of domestic and gender-based violence.
Also, new humanitarian crises have emerged this year, UNICEF said.
The conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has left 2.8 million people in urgent need of assistance. In Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, more than 425,000 people, including 191,000 children, have been displaced, the release said. Reports of killings, abductions, recruitment and use of children as soldiers are on the rise, it said.
The number of climate-related disasters has tripled in the last 30 years, threatening food security, increasing water scarcity, forcing people from their homes and increasing the risk of conflict and public health emergencies, UNICEF said.
Powerful storms devastated vulnerable communities in Central America, affecting 2.6 million children, and in East Asia, affecting 13.4 million children in the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia, it said.