We’re on the ground, working to reach children and their families with life-saving support while helping communities recover.
When war breaks out and disaster strikes, the chaos and insecurity that follows leaves children and their families at high risk. They lose their home, school and often loved ones. Their access to food, water and health care is affected, and many children are left vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
With the sheer scale of our infrastructure and long-term development work around the world, UNICEF can act quickly, delivering life-saving help to children in just 48 hours. When food is scarce in Yemen and across the Horn of Africa, we provide children with nutrition and health care. When schools are destroyed in Syria, we set up tented classrooms. In the Pacific, we deliver vaccines to stop preventable diseases that can thrive in the aftermath of disasters.
These are just some of the ways UNICEF responds to help children and families impacted by emergencies.
Syria and Türkiye Earthquake
In the early morning of 6 February 2023, a tragic earthquake of 7.7 magnitude struck at the border of Türkiye and Syria. It is one of the strongest to hit the region in the past 100 years and was felt in Cyprus, Israel and Lebanon. Amid waves of aftershocks — and a second earthquake with a 7.5 magnitude — UNICEF teams are on the ground in Syria, rushing life-saving assistance to children and families.
Many children were fast asleep when the initial earthquake struck, making the situation even more dangerous. Alongside the devastating loss of life, schools, hospitals and other medical facilities have likely been damaged or destroyed in the wake of the earthquake, meaning the needs and recovery will be catastrophic and long-lasting in a region already impacted by Syria's 12-year brutal civil war.
Help Children in Yemen
Yemen is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Eight years into the conflict and 20.7 million people need food, medical treatment, education, water and sanitation.
Pakistan Flood Emergency
One third of the country is under water as flooding devastates communities in Pakistan. Children and families have lost their homes as flood waters continue to rise to dangerous heights.
Somalia's Looming Famine
Right now, children across Somalia are experiencing the devastating effects of severe drought caused by four consecutive failed rainy seasons. Combined with increased conflict within the region and soaring food prices, the humanitarian situation is dire.
Helping children and their communities to recover
UNICEF responds to hundreds of emergencies every year, here in Australia and around the world. When disaster strikes, our teams act quickly to deliver clean, safe water and essential medical supplies to prevent malnutrition and illness. We help new mothers give birth safely, and we provide life-saving vaccines to protect children from deadly disease outbreaks.
Helping communities recover also means creating safe spaces for children so that they can continue to learn and play, build innovative tents for children and families to shelter in, and provide psychosocial support to help children process and cope with their changing world.
Always there in emergencies
Ensuring children caught up in conflict don’t miss out on education.
Sofiya and Liza fled the war together with their teacher Anastasia, leaving their families behind in Odessa, Ukraine. Before war broke out, Anastasia was teaching English in Ukraine. Now she is doing the same, but at a school in Romania for Ukrainian refugee children. While they wait to return home, Sofiya and Liza can continue their learning. Our teams sent several school-in-a-box kits, as well as sport kits and backpacks to support them.
The girls received bags with school supplies, which contain notebooks, coloured pencils, and a painting pallet. Sofiya and Liza like their new school and said their favourite subjects are Math and English.
We’re there when disaster strikes.
When an earthquake struck in the Afghanistan’s Paktika province in June 2022, it caused a devastating loss of life and destroyed many homes and villages. It also put increased pressure on struggling health, nutrition, hygiene and education services, placing more children at risk. Because UNICEF has been in Afghanistan for over 50 years, delivering long-term programs, we were able to respond rapidly with much needed help to children and their families.
Emergency response in Afghanistan | UNICEF
In one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake in June 2022, UNICEF is supporting communities with access to clean water, soap, and hygiene promotion through community mobilization.
Help us keep children safe during emergencies
We’re working to protect children and help communities recover during times of emergency.
Our recent work in emergencies around the world.
We are always there for children before, during and after an emergency.
14 March 2023
Twelve faces of Syria: children who have known nothing but war
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In photos: 365 days of strength and courage
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Heartbreak at the Syria-Türkiye border earthquake
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Four things you need to know about the looming famine in the Horn of Africa
“An escalating malnutrition crisis is pushing millions of children to the brink of starvation – and unless we do more, that crisis will become a catastrophe.” – Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director
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Sri Lankan children are at the very heart of this crisis
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1 March 2022
UNICEF Australia stands with children and families impacted by Queensland & New South Wales flood disaster
This week, Australians have watched the devastating destruction, loss of life and impact on communities brought on by catastrophic floods and severe weather in Queensland and NSW.