Millennium Post

UNICEF seeks $3.1 bn aid for ‘new generation’ of crises

The UN children’s agency launched a record $3.1 billion aid appeal on Thursday to help 62 million children at risk from a “new generation” of humanitarian crises.

The threats ranged from the brutal war in Syria that shows no sign of ending after nearly four years to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa and the Ukraine conflict. “From deadly natural disasters to brutal conflicts and fast-spreading epidemics, children across the world are facing a new generation of
humanitarian crises,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s director of emergency programmes.

“The scale of the crises, their duration and impact are unprecedented,” she told AFP. “Conflicts are increasingly taking on sub-regional dimensions.”

Khan said although child fighters had often been recruited for wars in poorer countries, it was now increasingly becoming common in middle-income nations such as Syria.

“We have information that thousands of children, mainly boys between the age of 13 and 18, are being recruited by armed groups in Syria,” she said.

“What is new is also that the groups are paying stipends to the families of the children,” Khan said.
The aid appeal is $1 billion higher than last year and targets 98 million people -- two-thirds of them children -- in 71 countries.

Khan said 20 per cent of the total aid appeal was aimed at investment in education, “the bridge to the future”.

According to UNICEF, more than one in 10 of the world’s children -- or 230 million -- currently live in countries and areas hit by armed conflicts.

The largest chunk of the appeal -- $903 million -- is aimed at helping children in Syria and the sub-region.

“Half of the children in Syria are out of schools and one-third of the schools have been destroyed,” said Khan, who has just returned from a tour of Syria.

According to UNICEF at least 160 children died in attacks on schools in the country last year.

More than eight million Syrian children have been affected by the civil war, with 1.7 million now living as refugees, according to the latest UN figures.

The agency is also targeting raising $500 million to help Ebola victims in west Africa and prevent fresh outbreaks.
Agencies

Agencies

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