26 January 2016UNICEF is launching a US$2.8 billion appeal to reach 43 million children in humanitarian emergencies worldwide. It includes the US$54.3 million appeal to help conflict-affected children in eastern Ukraine in 2016.

For the first time ever, the largest portion of the appeal – 25 per cent – 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.

“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.

The number of people forced from their homes continues to grow, with Europe alone receiving more than 1 million refugees and migrants in 2015.

“Across the world, millions of children have been forced to flee their homes due to violence and conflict. In Ukraine, over 208,000 children have been internally displaced,” said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine. “Children continue to bear the brunt of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. They need help and protection.”

UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children 2016 appeal targets a total of 76 million people, in 63 countries, including Ukraine. Funds raised by UNICEF will be used for immediate humanitarian response, as well as longer term work to prepare countries for future disasters.

In 2015, UNICEF reached millions of children with humanitarian aid – including providing 22.6 million people with access to safe water, vaccinating 11.3 million children against measles, treating 2 million children for the most serious form of malnutrition, offering 2 million children vital psychological support and giving 4 million children access to basic education.

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The full Humanitarian Action for Children 2016 appeal and related country information can be found here from 10:30 GMT on 26th January 2016: www.unicef.org/appeals

Video and photos are available for download here: http://uni.cf/1RTmcsI

Notes to Editors

The 63 countries and areas featured in the Humanitarian Action for Children 2016 appeal are highlighted due to the scale of these crises, the urgency of their impact on children and women, the complexity of the response, and the capacity to respond.

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. Join us on Twitter, Facebook and ВКонтакте.

For more information about UNICEF and its work in Ukraine visit: www.unicef.org.ua

For more information, please contact:

Christophe Boulierac, UNICEF Geneva, Tel: call_skype_logo.png+41 (0)22 909 5716, Mobile: call_skype_logo.png+41 (0) 799639244, cboulierac@unicef.org

Rose Foley, UNICEF New York, Tel: call_skype_logo.png+ 1 212 303 7987, Mobile: call_skype_logo.png+ 1 917 340 2582, rfoley@unicef.org

Veronika Vashchenko, UNICEF Kyiv, call_skype_logo.png+, vvashchenko@unicef.org