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$1.4 Billion Needed Now for Children in Syria, Mali and Other Countries in Crisis

NEW YORK (January 25, 2013) — UNICEF appealed today for nearly $1.4 billion to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of children in 45 countries and regions gripped by conflict, natural disasters and other complex emergencies this year. Funds raised will also go toward improving disaster preparedness and helping prevent humanitarian catastrophes from unfolding.

“We are still in the first month of 2013, which has already proved harsh for millions of children suffering in Syria and for refugees who had to flee to neighboring countries. Mali and the Central African Republic are also experiencing worsening conflict, threatening the lives of children and women,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s Director of the Office of Emergency Programs. “Children are extremely vulnerable in emergencies, often living in unhealthy and unsafe conditions, at high risk of disease, violence, exploitation and neglect.”

The 2013 Humanitarian Action for Children appeal includes countries prominent in the news along with many other countries that receive much less media coverage but nonetheless require urgent attention and assistance such as Chad, Colombia, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen.

“The complex emergency in Syria represents one important focus of UNICEF’s global emergency response,” said Chaiban. “But we are also delivering results for children in highly challenging and largely forgotten emergencies around the world.”

The 45 countries and regions in the appeal are priorities due to the scale of the crisis, the urgency of its impact on children and women, the complexity of the response and the capacity to respond. Fifteen percent of the funding requirement is for the humanitarian situation in Syria and the related refugee crisis.

“Contributions to UNICEF are sound investments in children and their futures,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “Millions of children around the world rely on unrestricted donations for food, clean water, vaccinations, medical treatment, and other basic needs for survival. These funds are necessary to address critical needs that would otherwise have gone unmet and to ensure that UNICEF can provide urgent relief in Syria and other places across the globe where the lives of children are threatened.”

The funding sought through the 2013 Humanitarian Action for Children appeal will allow the organization to build on its work in 2012. Between January and October 2012, UNICEF immunized 38.3 million children; provided 12.4 million people with access to safe water for drinking, cooking and bathing; provided 3 million children with access to a better education and 2.4 million children with child protection services; treated 2 million children with life-threatening severe malnutrition; and facilitated access to HIV/AIDS testing, counseling and referral services for 1 million people. In 2012, large funding gaps in some countries such as Madagascar and Colombia left the needs of many children unmet.

About UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when ZERO children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org

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