January 26, 2016 - 17:54 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - UNICEF is launching a $2.8 billion appeal to reach 43 million children in humanitarian emergencies worldwide, the Organization said in a statement.
For the first time ever, the largest portion of the appeal – 25%– is going towards educating children in emergencies. This year UNICEF plans to dramatically increase the number of children in crises who are given access to education – from 4.9 million at the beginning of 2015 to 8.2 million in 2016. More than half - 5 million – will be Syrian children inside the country or in neighboring countries.
“Millions of children are being robbed of their education,” says Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes. “Education is a life-saving measure for children, providing them with the opportunity to learn and play, amidst the carnage of gunfire and grenades. This year, a quarter of our appeal is devoted to education. By educating the minds of children and young people we are building hope so they can envisage a better future for themselves, their families and their societies and help break the cycle of chronic crisis.”
UNICEF’s 2016 appeal has doubled since this time three years ago. The twin drivers of conflict and extreme weather are forcing growing numbers of children from their homes and exposing millions more to severe food shortages, violence, disease, abuse, as well as threats to their education.
Around 1 in 9 of the world’s children is now living in conflict zones. In 2015, children living in countries and areas affected by conflict were twice as likely to die of mostly preventable causes before they reached the age of five, than those in other countries.
Climate change is a growing threat, with over half a billion children living in extremely high flood occurrence zones and nearly 160 million living in high or extremely high drought severity zones. One of the strongest El Niño weather events on record poses further risk.
$30.8 million is being requested by UNICEF to respond to the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe.