Before the crisis hits the headlines, UNICEF teams are already on the ground and have spent years building trusted relationships with the communities they work across.

From clean water to education and health care, we are building a future where children are safe and protected. When a disaster hits, whether it’s an earthquake or an explosion, our dedicated teams are often the first on the scene with life-saving supplies.  And long after conflict and disaster fades from the front pages, we are still there, working on long-term solutions to help communities recover. 

These crises might have left the headlines, but UNICEF won’t leave until every child is safe. 


Lebanon

The aftermath of the Beirut port blast in Lebanon in August 2020. At least 78 people were killed and thousands injured. © UNICEF/UNI356239/Amro/AFP


What’s happening in Lebanon? 


On 4 August 2020, two explosions tore through the city of Beirut, destroying homes and affecting an estimated 100,000 children. Our teams were there to help them recover and rebuild in the aftermath, but one year on, many families are still struggling amid an ongoing recession and the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Today, we’re living a tough life, with barely enough to eat,” says Shadi, who is living in an informal displacement camp with his wife and children, relying on any labour work he can find. On average, he manages to earn LBP£10,000 (roughly AUD$8.99) a day to feed, clothe and shelter his young children. 

No parent should have to worry about where the next meal for their children will come from. Yet 77 per cent of households in Lebanon say they did not have enough food or enough money to buy food. 

“We mostly eat lentils, rice, a few vegetables,” says Shadi. “Everyone here used to help one another – now we all have nothing, so there’s nothing anyone can do other than wait”. 
 
Shadi (top left) and his family at a displacement camp in Saida, Lebanon. © UNICEF/UN0482291
 

How is UNICEF helping? 


UNICEF provides life-saving support to children before, during and after emergencies. Our teams have been active in Lebanon since 1948. After the explosion and thanks to your generous support, we have been working to reach every child, helping families to recover and rebuild.  

Our teams are on the ground now:  
 
  • Rehabilitating damaged schools
  • Helping families meet their basic needs with cash payments
  • Addressing malnutrition and providing access to clean water 
  • Providing psychosocial support for children  
  • Supporting the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines 
Learn more about how you can help.  


Palestine

A Palestinian girl stands in front of their damaged home in Gaza City. © UNICEF/UN0464417/El Baba


What’s happening in Palestine? 


The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a territorial dispute going back almost 100 years, has led to a humanitarian crisis for families living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Children living in Gaza are suffering the most from this violent conflict. More than half a million children need access to education and a further 600,000 require psychosocial support.  

No place is safe for children across the Gaza Strip. In the words of the UN Secretary-General, “If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza today.” 

In May 2021, tensions in the Gaza Strip escalated, sadly resulting in the deaths of more than 60 children. Hundreds more were injured and close to 30,000 were forced to flee their homes. Even prior to the escalation in violence, one in three children in Gaza required support for conflict-related trauma. 
 
A Palestinian girl fills a jerrycan with clean drinking water. © UNICEF/UN0463028/El Baba


How is UNICEF helping?  


Our teams have been on the ground in the Gaza Strip for more than four decades, working together with other humanitarian partners to provide life-saving support.  

In response to the recent escalation, our teams in Palestine are:  
 
  • keeping water flowing 
  • delivering vaccines and,  
  • helping children and families access psychosocial support.
But more than anything, children need long-lasting peace. Any political solution that will be reached should not and cannot be “going back to as it was before” as “before” was unbearable and unsustainable for all children.  

All children deserve far better than this horrible cycle of violence and fear that has gone on for far too long. Learn more about how you can help.  
 

 

Yemen

A Palestinian girl fills a jerrycan with clean drinking water. © UNICEF/UN0463028/El Baba


What’s happening in Yemen? 


After six brutal years, the conflict in Yemen remains the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with nearly every child in need of humanitarian assistance. While women and children continue to be disproportionately affected by the need for health care, this problem impacts 20.1 million people – almost 70 per cent of the population. 

The COVID-19 outbreak placed even more pressure on Yemen’s already battered health care system, which is operating at roughly 50 per cent of its former capacity. While only 6,787 cases were confirmed in Yemen in May 2021, the fatality rate of 20 per cent strongly suggests that official data underestimates the true extent of the disease.  

Children in Yemen face incredible threats to their survival. Nearly 2.3 million children under five years of age are at risk of acute malnutrition this year.  

Food and clean water are key to keeping them safe. But with coronavirus quickly spreading through an already resource-scarce country, vital food, water and sanitation supplies are being stretched very thin. 
Thirteen-year-old Kholood (middle) and her two sisters Jana and Anhar, go to school in Yemen. © UNICEF/UN0460334/Al-Basha

Thirteen-year-old Khlood told us she walks an hour through a fighting zone in Yemen to learn in an unfinished building with no doors, windows, chairs or bathrooms.  

“I feel afraid when I walk to school because cars are speeding, and I’m scared of the shelling,” she says.  

Conflict and poverty have forced two million children in Yemen out of school, and for many, learning is still dangerous and difficult.  

“I don’t know if I should go home when I hear bombing or if should stay at the school. I hope that one day peace will prevail, and I will be able to go to a beautiful and safe school.” 
 

How is UNICEF helping? 


UNICEF plays a vital role in protecting Yemeni children from preventable diseases and malnutrition every year. Our teams on the ground delivering life-saving packages including nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene services to those who need it most.  

Our teams also help children get back to school by delivering learning materials and supporting teachers who haven’t been paid. But what children need most is an end to violence. Learn more about how you can help.  
 

 

Ethiopia 

Children, who fled the violence in Ethiopia's, Tigray region, wait in line for breakfast organised by a volunteer in Mekele the capital of the Tigray region. © UNICEF/UN0482352/Chiba/AFP


What’s happening in Ethiopia? 


Conflict between the Ethiopian Government and the Tigray Defence Forces broke out in the Tigray region of Ethiopia on 3 November 2020, resulting in death, displacement and destruction. In Tigray alone, there are 1.6 million displaced people, up from 220,000 in February. 

A delayed rain season has led to lower crop yields, pushing inflation up almost 20 per cent and adding to conflict-related food shortages in the region. This means that more than 550,000 families in Tigray are facing severe hunger this year.  

56,000 children under five are at risk of severe acute malnutrition, six times the average annual number of cases in the region. To make matters worse, 70 per cent of the health system is no longer operating.  

Immunisations have ground to a halt, health and water facilities have been damaged or destroyed, and essential supplies looted. Children in most of Ethiopia have returned to school following COVID-19 restrictions – but not the 1.3 million school-aged children in Tigray. 
Mebraq watches as her twin babies take a nap. The young mother fled bombing in Tigray and is now receiving care in Kassala, Sudan. © UNICEF/UN0403276/Abdalkarim
" I knew I had to flee to save my life and my
children’s life, so I walked for three days.
When the bombing in Tigray started, Mebraq had just given birth to premature twins, Solot and Sempa, at a hospital in Ethiopia. She grabbed her babies in the middle of the night and fled. Due to the trauma, lack of food and stress, Mebraq was unable to produce breastmilk. 

“For days, I could not breastfeed, maybe because I’m so tired, I knew I had to flee to save my life and my children’s life, so I walked for three days,” says Mebraq. 

When she reached Hamdayet reception centre in Sudan, Merbraq was immediately transferred by ambulance to a hospital in Kassala, where she and her twins were admitted for several days. Now safe inside a makeshift UNICEF tent for mothers and newborn babies, Solot and Sempa sleep peacefully as they have just had breast milk for the first time. 


How is UNICEF helping? 


UNICEF was one of the first humanitarian organisations to provide life-saving supplies to crisis-affected Tigrayans. We are on the ground in Tigray and neighbouring Sudan, providing nutrition treatment, emergency health care and water and sanitation supplies to refugee families in need. 

In May, only 30 per cent of people needing assistance were accessible. 
Thankfully, UNICEF and our partners are now able to access 75 per cent of people in previously hard-to-reach areas.  


With help from people like you, we have been able to screen 250,000 children under five for severe malnutrition, and help 7,000 to access treatment. Our aim is to reach every child across the region with critical health, nutrition, water, sanitation, education and protection services before it is too late. Learn more about how you can help. 
 


India 

People suffering from breathing difficulty receive oxygen assistance in Ghaziabad, in the Indian state Uttar Pradesh. © UNICEF/UN0456953/Singh


What happened in India? 


In May 2021, India experienced the worst surge of COIVD-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. At the height of the crisis, more than four new cases were being reported every two seconds. 

Hospitals and health centres across the country were collapsing under the tsunami of new cases, with oxygen, hospital beds and essential drugs running out. Patients in critical conditions are being turned away from hospitals and medical centres. Many return home to die without any medical help.  
Officials from UNICEF Bihar office monitoring the unloading of life-saving medical helps. One hundred oxygen concentrators were delivered to the state. © UNICEF/UN0470933/India Country Office
 

How is UNICEF helping?  


In an emergency, UNICEF can ship life-saving supplies almost anywhere within 48 hours. This is thanks to our global supply chain and local presence in more than 190 countries and territories.  With support from people like you, our teams were able to: 
 
  • Increase access to life-saving oxygen by delivering Oxygen Generation Plants to hospitals to treat severe and critical COVID-19 cases.
  • Provide rapid, accurate testing machines in some of the most affected districts.
  • Support the ongoing distribution of COVID-19 vaccines through the UNICEF-supported COVAX initiative. 
Learn how you can help.


Syria

In Al-Hol camp in Northeastern Syria, more than 60,000 people, most of them women and children, take shelter in dire conditions, lacking access to the most basic services. © UNICEF/UN0430210/Souleiman

A decade. That’s how long war has been raging in Syria. The conflict, which first broke out on 15 March 2011, has caused the largest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time. 

Today, 2.5 million children are displaced inside Syria and millions more have fled to neighbouring countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey and beyond.  

More than 6 million children in need of assistance inside Syria. As conflict continues in Northwest Syria millions of children remain displaced, with many families having fled violence multiple times. Nearly 80 per cent of people live in poverty with food, water and medicine in short supply.

Sanna was forced to flee her home in Afrin as violence escalated back in 2018 alongside thousands of other families, arriving at a camp in rural Aleppo with just the clothes on her back.  

“We sleep side by side while holding my newborn baby to keep ourselves warm,” says Sanaa. 

“When it rains, I feel like I can’t breathe due to the heavy pressure the rain creates on the tent. It starts seeping and we run to save our few belongings from getting soaked.” 
 
Sanaa, holds her 15-day old baby inside their tent at Fafin camp in northern rural Aleppo. © UNICEF/UN0401392/Almatar


How is UNICEF helping? 


Our teams have been on the ground in Syria and across the region since the beginning of the war, working day and night to protect children and deliver life-saving supplies. Through it all we’ve kept children safe, healthy and learning. 

Our teams in Syria and across the region reach children with: 
 
  • Education including home-based learning  
  • Life-saving vaccinations 
  • Health care and treatment for malnutrition 
  • Safe and clean water  
Learn more about how you can help. 
 

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