Beyond UNICEF’s response to immediate large-scale emergencies, we also work in countries where complex and long-standing emergency conditions endanger children’s lives and futures. These are called ‘silent emergencies’ and often do not make the headlines.
Daily hardship remains a way of life for many children in Somalia.
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UNICEF's Silent Emergencies appeal is a pool of readily available money for those emergencies you may not hear about, but that require urgent support.
It's also for crises that have not yet happened, so that when they do hit we're prepared and can act quickly to provide for children before, during and after the emergency.
While catastrophes do not discriminate, they most severely affect those least able to withstand them: the most vulnerable children, living in the poorest and most isolated places, subject to the greatest deprivations.
Multiple crises create a cycle of deepening poverty and rising social tensions, and compromise well-being. Over time, repeated and continuing shocks undermine children’s capacity to cope.
View the Silent Emergencies photo essay
Current silent emergencies
Some current silent emergencies that UNICEF is responding to include:
- Central African Republic (CAR) – As a result of a rebel offensive that started in December 2012 and, most recently, the fighting taking place in Bangui since early December 2013, an estimated 2 million people are in need of assistance in CAR. There is a critical lack of water and health care, and major disruptions to education. Insecurity and lawlessness throughout the country have led to children being displaced, separated, maimed, abducted, killed and raped. The number of children recruited into armed groups has risen to at least 3,500 and could be as high as 6,000. UNICEF's response is focused on reaching over 210,000 displaced children with life-saving vaccinations, and the delivery of blankets, sanitation kits, clean water and health and mid-wifery supplies. Teams are also working hard to set up safe spaces for children, and to reunite unaccompanied children with their families.
- South Sudan - Violence broke out in the world’s youngest country in mid-December 2013, forcing more than 400,000 people to flee their homes in search of safety. The continuing crisis in South Sudan has resulted in the death of thousands of civilians, and so far almost 650,000 people are displaced inside the country. More than half of them are children. An estimated 3 million people are without adequate food supply, and as many as 6 million people in are need of humanitarian assistance. The risk of disease outbreak is very high. UNICEF is providing vaccinations against measles and polio, urgently needed medical supplies, and treatment for malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition. Supplies also include midwifery and obstetric surgery kits and water and sanitation equipment, and tents, tarpaulins and blankets.
- Angola and Namibia - One of the worst droughts in 30 years is taking its toll on Southern African countries Angola and Namibia. Due to low seasonal rainfall, more than 778,000 people in northern Namibia - including 109,000 children - have been left without an adequate supply of food. An estimated 1.5 million people in Southern Angola face the same problem. This increases the likelihood of disease and malnutrition, and the situation is expected to worsen over the next few months making it difficult for families to survive. Livestock and crops have perished and many households are selling assets. UNICEF will focus on the prevention and treatment of malnutrition and disease as well as the provision of water treatment and sanitation.
What is UNICEF doing?
In all emergency situations, UNICEF remains committed to the fullest realisation of the rights of all children by providing long-term help that goes beyond the initial wave of the crisis and aid. This includes assistance to children in the areas of nutrition, sanitation, vaccination, shelter, education and partnership with local communities and organisations.