• by Baher Kamal (Madrid)
  • Interpress service

“Across the world, children and their families face a deadly mix of crises, from conflict and displacement to disease, outbreaks and soaring levels of malnutrition. At the same time, climate change is exacerbating these crises and unleashing new ones.”

Sadly, UNICEF – the world body created in the aftermath of the Second World War to save the lives of millions of children who fell victim to the devastating weapons used by their own continent: Europe – could not more accurately describe the current situation of the most innocent people.

The United Nations Children’s Fund actually reports about the urgent need to provide life-saving assistance to millions of children trapped in continuing atrocities committed by adults.

In his report: 11 emergencies that need more attention and support in 2023UNICEF is focusing on the following countries where resources have also been lacking:

South Sudan

Unprecedented flooding in South Sudan has taken a devastating toll on families. Crops have been destroyed, grazing grounds for cattle and other livestock have been submerged and families have been forced to flee their homes.

With hunger and malnutrition on the rise in the flooded regions, some communities are likely to face starvation without sustained humanitarian assistance.

UNICEF works to screen and treat children with severe acute malnutrition, also known as severe wasting – the deadliest form of malnutrition and one of the biggest threats to child survival. Read the latest appeal for South Sudan


After eight years of conflict, the systems Yemen’s families depend on are still on the verge of total collapse. More than 23.4 million people, including 12.9 million children, have so far fallen victim to such a brutal war.

In addition, more than 11,000 children have been killed or maimed since 2015, while conflict, massive displacement and recurring climate shocks have left more than 2 million children “acutely malnourished and struggling to survive.” Read the latest appeal for Yemen


Political unrest, civil unrest and gang violence, devastating poverty and natural disasters, a deadly combination of threats already pose an enormous challenge to families in Haiti. A upsurge in cholera in 2022 poses another risk to children’s health – and their lives.

“There is an urgent need to intensify efforts to protect families against cholera by delivering cholera kits and water purification tablets and trucking in clean water.”

To curb malnutrition, UNICEF also screens children for wasting to ensure that those who need help can be treated in mobile clinics and other facilities. Read the latest appeal for Haiti

DR Congo

Escalating armed conflicts and recurring outbreaks of deadly diseases are taking a toll on millions of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The country hosts the “second highest number of internally displaced people in the world.”

The cramped conditions in the camps in which families live are associated with danger for children, who are at increased risk of violence and disease. Read the latest appeal for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


The rain that brought historical floods to large parts of Pakistan by 2022 may have ended, but the crisis for children has not.

Months after floods ravaged the country, large tracts of farmland and villages remain under water, while millions of girls and boys are still in need of immediate life-saving support.

About 8 million people are still exposed to flood waters or live near flooded areas. “Many of these families are still living in makeshift tents along the road or near the rubble of their home – often in the open, right next to polluted and stagnant water.”

UNICEF reported that in January 2022 up to 4 million children in Pakistan still live next to stagnant and polluted floodwaters Read the latest appeal for Pakistan

Burkina Faso

Political fragility, the effects of climate change and economic and health crises have contributed to the internal displacement of around 1.7 million people in Burkina Faso – 60% of whom are children.

“Anxiety, depression and other stress-related problems associated with displacement can take a lifelong toll on children’s emotional and physical health.” Read the latest appeal for Burkina Faso


The deepening conflict in Myanmar continues to affect children and their families approximately 5.6 million children in need of humanitarian aid.

Attacks on schools and hospitals have continued at alarming levels serious violations of children’s rights in armed conflicts has been reported.

The conflict has undermined the provision of child health services, including routine vaccination, and threatens to take a long-term toll on children’s health and well-being. Read the latest plea for Myanmar


“Children in the State of Palestine continue to face a protracted protection crisis and an ongoing occupation.” About 2.1 million people – more than half of them children – now need humanitarian aid.

Since 2009UNICEF has supported family centers throughout the Gaza Strip to provide psychosocial care for children.

Children in need of more specialized services – such as those who experience violence at home, school or work – are assigned a caseworker who works directly with them and their families. Read the latest appeal for the State of Palestine


As the The Rohingya refugee crisis entering its fifth year, Bangladesh still hosts hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who settled in Cox’s Bazar district after fleeing “extreme violence” in Myanmar.

Although basic services have been provided in the camps, “children still face disease outbreaks, malnutrition, inadequate educational opportunities and other risks such as exploitation and violence.” Read the latest appeal for Bangladesh


The situation was already serious long before the recent earthquakes. In fact, “more than a decade of humanitarian crises and hostilities have left children in Syria facing one of the most complex emergencies in the world.”

“Two-thirds of the population are in need of assistance” due to the worsening economic crisis, continued local hostilities, mass displacement and devastated public infrastructure.

The conflict has seen one of the biggest education crises in recent history, with “an entire generation of Syrian children paying a devastating price.” Read the latest appeal for Syria


Four failed rainy seasons in a row has meant that Kenya has experienced its worst drought in 40 years. Without water, crops cannot grow, and animals and livestock die.

The resulting loss of nutritious food, combined with poor sanitation, has left “hundreds of thousands of children in need of treatment for wasting away.”

Children with exhaustion are too thin and their immune systems are weak, making them vulnerable to developmental delays, disease and death. Read the latest appeal for Kenya

Millions more

In addition to these 11 nations identified so far by UNICEF in urgent need of life-saving humanitarian assistance, with millions of children the most vulnerable, there are several other countries where they live in dire situations, on which IPS reports in Part II of this two-part series .

© Inter Press Service (2023) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service