UNICEF appeals for US$2.6 billion to meet increasing children’s needs in the Middle East and North Africa [EN/AR]

AMMAN, 13 December 2022- As part of a record global appeal, UNICEF is appealing for US$2.6 billion in emergency funding to deliver lifesaving assistance to over 52.7 million children in need in the Middle East and North Africa in 2023.

“With almost half of the countries in the region living in crisis or undergoing ripple effects of conflicts and wars, children remain the most affected and in massive need of assistance,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF Regional Director in the Middle East and North Africa. “Year after year, a dire situation gets much worse with many families becoming poorer as they face the impacts of multiple crises,” she added.

The region is home to some of the world’s longest conflicts. Almost 12 years of war in Syria left more than 6.5 million children dependent on assistance. Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with almost every child in the country dependent on assistance. The compounded crisis in Lebanon, and the instability in Sudan resulted in millions of additional children living in critical conditions.

“If secured, these urgent funds will allow UNICEF to reach children impacted by conflict and humanitarian crises in a timely and relevant manner. UNICEF appreciates all donors who have been essential in making the response to children’s needs in the Middle East and North Africa possible. Timely, predictable and flexible funding are essential to contribute to the wellbeing and welfare of children in the region,” concluded Khodr.

Over the years, UNICEF has been strategic in its approach to responding to conflicts and crises in the region, focusing on not only providing immediate humanitarian assistance but also on strengthening systems, creating risk-informed programmes, and planning and preparing for emergencies.

UNICEF has been conscious of how crucial it is to include local communities and be accountable to the affected populations, collaborating with regional partners to empower young girls and boys and promote their engagement in humanitarian planning. Efforts were also focused on developing partnerships and mobilizing essential resources to ensure long-term progress and impact.

In 2022, UNICEF continued to respond to needs of children and their families across the region.

Key Highlights of UNICEF’s response in 2022 across the region:

Supported around 2.8 million children to get formal and non-formal education and provided 1.2 million children with individual learning materials.

Reached more than 338 thousand children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) with treatment.

Reached around 13.1 million people with critical water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supplies and access to safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene.

Reached around 1.4 million households with humanitarian cash assistance.

Bought and distributed around 4.9 million doses of routine vaccines against measles, tetanus, polio, diphtheria, hepatitis B and rotavirus.

Reached more than 780 thousand children and caregivers with mental health and psychosocial support services.

Notes to editors:

The Regional Humanitarian Action for Children Fast Facts can be found here

The Humanitarian Action for Children 2023 and separate appeals for countries can be found here.

The Humanitarian Action for Children appeal for 2023 includes Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, the State of Palestine, Sudan, Syria and the Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, and Yemen. In addition to a regional appeal and technical support from the Regional Office in Amman to countries that don’t have a standalone HAC appeal. In total, the appeal constitutes to 25 per cent of UNICEF’s financial ask globally.

This appeal does not include the response to the Afghan refugee crisis in Iran, which is included in the regional appeal of our office in South Asia. Iran hosts nearly 3.6 million Afghans, including more than 1 million who have arrived since 2021. Children make up about 40 per cent of the new arrivals.

While Türkiye is not part of the MENA region, the appeal includes the Syrian refugees’ response in the country.

In December 2021, UNICEF appealed for US$ 2.3 billion to respond to children’s needs for 2022. The appeal was revised to a total of US$ 2.4 billion, of which, only half of the funds were received.

Source: UN Children’s Fund