UNICEF launches $3.6bn emergency appeal fund for Nigeria, others


Internally displaced persons (IDPs)

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria

UNICEF has launched a 3.6 billion dollars emergency appeal for 48 million children in Nigeria and 50 other countries.

In Nigeria’s Northeast, UNICEF and partners planned 149 million dollars for 215,300 children aged six to 59 months affected by severe acute malnutrition admitted for treatment.

The humanitarian plan would also provide 1.05 million people with access to and sustained supply of safe water as per agreed standards.

It would have 6,212,000 consultations provided for internally displaced persons and affected host communities of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

According to UNICEF’s plan, a total 7.7 million people are in need in the affected areas with a total of 4.3 million children under 18 years in need in the three states.

However, the total people to be reached in 2018 are 3.9 million out of which a total of 3.4 million children are to be reached in 2018.

UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine warned at the launch of the emergency appeal that millions of children in crisis zones in the countries faced ‘bleak future.

He said children were the most vulnerable when conflict or disaster caused the collapse of essential services such as healthcare.

”Unless the international community takes urgent action to protect and provide life-saving assistance to them, they face an increasingly bleak future,” the UNICEF official said.

According to UNICEF, approximately 48 million children across 51 countries are caught up in war zones, natural disasters and other dire emergencies.

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These incidents continued to deepen in complexity, bringing new waves of violence, displacement and disruption into their lives, UNICEF warned.

Fontaine said: “Children cannot wait for wars to be brought to an end, with crises threatening the immediate survival and long term future of children and young people on a catastrophic scale.”

He cited the devastating impact on children living amid years-long or cyclical violence in countries like Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, among others.

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UNICEF said that almost one in four children live in a country affected by conflict or disaster and has therefore set aside about 84 per cent of its appeal (over three billion dollars).

“Destruction of schools, hospitals and health and sanitation systems due to violence has meant that the spread of water-borne diseases is now one of the greatest threats to children’s lives in crises.

“Girls and women face additional threats, as they often fulfil the role of collecting water for their families in dangerous situations.

“Some 117 million people living through emergencies lack access to safe water and in many countries affected by conflict, more children die from diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation than from direct violence.

“Without access to safe water and sanitation, children fall ill, and are often unable to be treated as hospitals and health centres either do not function or are overcrowded.

“The threat is even greater as millions of children face life-threatening levels of malnutrition, making them more susceptible to water-borne diseases like cholera, creating a vicious cycle of under-nutrition and disease.”