By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – THE United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, Monday called on the international community to help raise $3.6bn for the provision of life-saving humanitarian assistance, this year, to about 48 million children in Nigeria, and 50 other countries affected by violence and conflicts.
In the first ten months of 2017, as a result of UNICEF’s support: over 500,000 children in Nigeria were vaccinated against measles, provided with some form of education and psycho-social support as well as treated for severe acute malnutrition.
Against this backdrop, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine, in a statement issued in Abuja called on partners and donors to support UNICEF’s 2018 Humanitarian Action for Children, saying “unless the international community takes urgent action to protect and provide life-saving assistance to these children, they face an increasingly bleak future.”
He added that “parties to conflicts are showing a blatant disregard for the lives of children. Children are not only coming under direct attack, but are also being denied basic services as schools, hospitals and civilian infrastructure are damaged or destroyed.
“Approximately 84 per cent ($3.015 billion) of the 2018 funding appeal is for work in countries affected by humanitarian crises borne of violence and conflict. The world is becoming a more dangerous place for many children, with almost one in four children now living in a country affected by conflict or disaster. For too many of these children, daily life is a nightmare.”
According to Fontaine, around the world, violent conflict that have endured for years in countries such as Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and Syria have continued to deepen in complexity, bringing new waves of violence, displacement and disruption to children’s lives.
“Children cannot wait for wars to be brought to an end, with crises threatening the immediate survival and long term future of children and young people on a catastrophic scale,” he said.