Unicef seeks $152.5mn for Rohingyas, host communities in Bangladesh
Dhaka: Unicef is requesting US$ 152.5 million this year to meet the lifesaving and humanitarian-development needs of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi host communities, it said on Tuesday.
Millions of children living in countries affected by conflicts and disasters lack access to vital child protection services, putting their safety, wellbeing and futures at risk, Unicef warned as it appealed for $3.9 billion to support its work for children in humanitarian crises, reports the UNB.
Unicef’s Humanitarian Action for Children sets out the agency’s 2019 appeal and its efforts to provide 41 million children with access to safe water, nutrition, education, health and protection in 59 countries across the globe.
Since August 2017, more than 730,000 Rohingya, including 400,000 children, have fled violence in Myanmar and settled in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, according to Unicef.
Despite the enormous challenges of the magnitude and extreme speed of the influx, Unicef extended life-saving services to over 1.2 million refugees and affected host communities.
Some 380,000 people were provided with access to safe drinking water; 145,209 Rohingya children got basic education, 20,000 children under five treated for severe acute malnutrition and 1,235,475 people over 1 year old received oral cholera vaccine. Thanks to the donors for their generous support.
Funding for child protection programmes accounts for $385 million of the overall appeal, including almost $121 million for protection services for children affected by the Syria crisis.
‘Today, millions of children living through conflict or disaster are suffering horrific levels of violence, distress and trauma,’ said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
‘The impact of our child protection work cannot be overstated. When children do not have safe places to play, when they cannot be reunited with their families, when they don’t receive psychosocial support, they won’t heal from the unseen scars of war.’
Unicef estimates that more than 34 million children living through conflict and disaster lack access to child protection services, including 6.6 million children in Yemen, 5.5 million children in Syria and 4 million children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Child protection services include all efforts to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation, trauma and violence.
Unicef also works to ensure that the protection of children is central to all other areas of the organisation’s humanitarian programmes, including water, sanitation and hygiene, education and other areas of work by identifying, mitigating and responding to potential dangers to children’s safety and wellbeing.
However, funding constraints, as well as other challenges, including warring parties’ growing disregard for international humanitarian law and the denial of humanitarian access, mean that aid agencies’ capacity to protect children is severely limited.
In the DRC, for example, Unicef received just a third of the $21 million required for child protection programmes in 2018, while around one-fifth of child protection funding for Syrian children remained unmet.
‘Providing these children with the support they need is critical, but without significant and sustained international action, many will continue to fall through the cracks,’ said Manuel Fontaine, Unicef Director of Emergency Programmes. ‘The international community should commit to supporting the protection of children in emergencies.’
This includes the provision of essential nutrition, health, WASH, protection and education services. Given the country’s high level of risk for natural hazards, the humanitarian system’s capacity to prepare for and respond to sudden-onset disasters/ epidemics will be supported throughout the country.
The year 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the landmark Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, yet today, more countries are embroiled in internal or international conflict than at any other time in the past three decades, threatening the safety and wellbeing of millions of children.
Unicef’s appeal comes one month after the children’s agency said that the world is failing to protect children living in conflict around the world, with catastrophic consequences.
The children who are continuously exposed to violence or conflict, especially at a young age, are at risk of living in a state of toxic stress – a condition that, without the right support can lead to negative life-long consequences for their cognitive, social and emotional development.
Some children impacted by war, displacement and other traumatic events – such as sexual and gender-based violence – require specialized care to help them cope and recover.
The five largest individual appeals are for Syrian refugees and host communities in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey (US$ 904 million); Yemen (US$ 542.3 million); The Democratic Republic of the Congo (US$ 326.1 million); Syria (US$ 319.8 million) and South Sudan (US$ 179.2 million).