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UNICEF makes record appeal to help 60 million children in crisis

The UN Children`s Fund launched a record $3.1 billion appeal on Thursday to enable it to help children caught up in a "new generation" of conflicts and disasters round the world, $1 billion more than it sought in 2014.



London: The UN Children`s Fund launched a record $3.1 billion appeal on Thursday to enable it to help children caught up in a "new generation" of conflicts and disasters round the world, $1 billion more than it sought in 2014.

A series of more complex and destructive crises, natural disasters and emergencies such as the Ebola epidemic, are putting some 60 million children in extraordinary danger of violence, hunger, disease and abuse, UNICEF said.

"From deadly natural disasters to brutal conflicts and fast-spreading epidemics, children across the world are facing a new generation of humanitarian crises," Afshan Khan, UNICEF director of emergency programmes, said in a statement.

"Whether in the headlines or hidden from view, emergencies sparked by social fracture, climate change and disease are stalking children in ways we have never seen before."

More than one in 10 children now live in countries or regions affected by armed conflict, UNICEF said in the report Humanitarian Action for Children that accompanied the appeal.

The biggest amount in the appeal, $903 million, was for Syria and the region around it, followed by $500 million for West African countries affected by the Ebola epidemic.

More that 5.6 million children need support in Syria, as do 1.7 million who have fled the five-year-old conflict for neighbouring countries, UNICEF said.

"For the past four years, these children have been witnessing violence and death daily and have been missing out on the very basics in life," said Khan.

"This appeal will help secure a future for not only the children of Syria but all children around the world who are impacted by humanitarian crises."

Money raised for Ebola-affected areas will be used to isolate and treat new cases and prevent new outbreaks, UNICEF said.

UNICEF also appealed for $32 million for Ukraine, where it said 5.2 million people, one third of them children, were living in conflict zones and 600,000 were displaced.

The appeal, which covers 71 countries and a total of 98 million people, also includes underfunded and forgotten crises, including Afghanistan, the Palestinian Territories and Niger. 

As well as drawing attention to the growing number of emergencies, the UNICEF report also highlighted the increasing interdependence of humanitarian and development work.

UNICEF said the funds raised would also help strengthen national preparedness systems against future disasters.

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