GENEVA - The U.N. Children’s Fund is launching its largest-ever appeal for $3.9 billion in life-saving assistance for 73 million people, including 41 million children affected by conflict, natural disasters and other emergencies in 59 countries.
Indonesian disaster management officials say the death toll from Saturday's tsunami that struck parts of the west coast of Java now stands at 429 people. Rescue crews have turned to sniffer dogs and drones to search for any remaining survivors of the tsunami, which devastated communities in between the islands of Sumatra and Java in the Sunda Straits. Over 1,000 structures have been damaged or destroyed, including hundreds of homes.
Indonesian disaster management officials say the death toll from Saturday's tsunami that struck parts of the west coast of Java now stands at 429 people.
Rescue crews have turned to sniffer dogs and drones to search for any remaining survivors of the tsunami, which devastated communities in between the islands of Sumatra and Java in the Sunda Straits. Over 1,000 structures have been damaged or destroyed, including hundreds of homes.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The U.N. Children’s Fund says 2019 also marks a year of heightened conflict, with more countries at war than at any time in the past three decades.
Among the greatest victims are more than 34 million children affected by conflict or disaster. UNICEF says they are suffering horrific levels of violence, deprivation and trauma with little access to protection and life-saving assistance.
Up to 20 million Yemeni's — two-thirds of the country's population — are food insecure, primarily because of the war that has ravaged the impoverished country.
A joint statement issued Saturday by the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization, UNICEF and the World Food Program said the conflict has contributed to the "world's worst humanitarian crisis."
The agencies cited an analysis by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, a food security survey that helps determine whether to declare famine in countries.
"Already 15.9 million people wake up hungry" in Yemen, the agencies said of
UNICEF Director of Emergency Operations Manuel Fontaine says 88 percent of this year’s appeal is for humanitarian crises driven by conflict. He says the single biggest operation is to help Syrian refugees, the largest displacement crisis in the world, and the host communities in five neighboring countries of asylum.
“The 2nd largest appeal is for Yemen, which over the past year has seen conditions, unfortunately, that were already catastrophic for children get even worse, if that is possible" Fontaine said. "Eight out of 10 children, which is over 11 million, now require humanitarian assistance in Yemen.”
UNICEF’s biggest operations traditionally have been in Africa. But this year the Democratic Republic of Congo places third, followed by Syria and South Sudan.
Fontaine says Africa unfortunately is the continent with the biggest gap in funding. He tells VOA African countries are not getting the attention they need, and that has serious consequences for humanitarian operations.
The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that more than 80,000 children are among 330,000 Congolese migrants expelled by the Angolan government since the start of October. The migrants were sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo's volatile Kasai Province, where ethnic tensions triggered a brutal conflict in 2016.
According to UNICEF, the migrant children, many of whom lived most of their lives in Angola, are dealing with dire conditions.
“In a country like Cameroon, which is one of the countries for which we have concerns, particularly in northwest and southwest region at the moment. We had aimed to immunize 61,000 children against measles and because of lack of resources, we could only immunize a bit more than 2,000," Fontaine said. "So, obviously, we are far behind what we need to do.”
Fontaine says UNICEF has had to drastically cut back services for gender-based violence in Central African Republic because it only has received 36 percent of the money it needs. In all cases, he says funding shortfalls have very direct implications on the lives of children and women.