UNICEF leads in times of emergency, whenever and wherever disaster strikes.
We’re there before a disaster, helping communities plan ahead. With permanent offices in more than 190 countries, we’re well placed for rapid response by road and air.
When emergency strikes, we can hit the ground running with prepositioned emergency water, nutrition and medical supplies. Your donations help us to act quickly whenever and wherever we’re needed.
UNICEF is there when children need us most. We bring safe drinking water to people hit by natural disasters or caught up in violent conflict. When food is scarce, we give children micronutrients to prevent malnutrition. We deliver the vaccines to stop the diseases that too often thrive in the aftermath of disasters.
Disaster too has a devastating impact on children. The grip of Ebola on West Africa - in particular Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - closed schools, ended routine and preventative health care for infants and young children and left many without the care and love of a parent. In the weeks after the devastating earthquake in Nepal in 2015, each hour saw 12 babies entering the world without healthcare, much less a roof over their families’ heads. When cyclones tore through Fiji and Vanuatu, homes, schools and entire villages were wiped out - leaving thousands of children at risk of disease and malnutrition.
When Cyclone Winston flooded Ana's town and blocked the water pipes, this 11 year-old girl had to collect rainwater from her tin roof to survive. With UNICEF’s help, the taps are flowing again and Ana is smiling with the simple joy of safe, clean water. © UNICEF/2016/Sokhin
When schools are destroyed, we set up tented classrooms. When students lose everything to flood or violence, we give them new backpacks filled with learning supplies. And when children struggle with the profound stress of living in a warzone or rebuilding from disaster, we give them the psychosocial support they need to recover.
From the first day of an emergency to the last day children need us, UNICEF is there. When conflict and extreme weather put children at risk, we make sure no child is forgotten.
Experts at emergency response since 1946
UNICEF was founded in 1946 in the aftermath of World War II, supplying urgent assistance to children in Europe, the Middle East and China. By 1953, our mandate was extended, and now we work to save and improve the lives of children in more than 190 countries.
In a world with heightened conflict and more frequent disasters, UNICEF’s work in responding to the needs of children in emergencies has once again become a large portion of our work.
Today, children need us more than ever. In Syria, children face danger at every turn. In Central African Republic, Somalia and South Sudan, children are being recruited into armed forces. In Iraq, Pakistan and Nigeria, children have repeatedly been the victims when schools and religious minorities are targeted.
Rojina was lying in the delivery room of a remote Nepalese village when the unthinkable happened: a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck. She and her newborn Himal survived the quakes, but when their health post was reduced to rubble, UNICEF set up a medical tent so its lifesaving world could continue - so Himal could get the care he needed to survive his fragile first months of life. © UNICEF/UNI189491/Panday
UNICEF in Emergencies
UNICEF responds to hundreds of emergencies every year. When disaster strikes, our teams act quickly to deliver life-saving food, clean water, medicines and psychological support to children and families. In emergencies, UNICEF can:
You can make sure no child is left behind by crisis or poverty by donating to UNICEF.
- Deliver essential supplies to prevent malnutrition and illness. In Afghanistan, we have provided children and women with nutrition and safe water, and cared for children who had been separated from their families.
- Help new mothers give birth safely and protect their newborns. In Ukraine, we’ve given health professionals midwifery kits to ensure safe deliveries for 13,500 babies.
- Protect children from deadly disease outbreaks. In Burundi, we’ve reached some 160,000 people with information to keep them safe from deadly outbreaks of cholera.
- Supply life-saving clean, safe water to children in crisis. UNICEF has helped almost 3 million people in Yemen access clean drinking water.
- Keep children in school and safe from violence. In Iraq, we’ve set up temporary learning spaces, ensuring more than 200,000 children who are out of school continue to receive an education.
- Provide psychosocial support for traumatised children and families. In Nigeria, we’ve provided psychosocial support to more than 42,000 children, helping them cope with the distressing effects of the conflict.