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By UNICEF Australia
10 January 2020

2020's Newest Additions

Sharifah, 27, was the first to give birth at a hospital in Uganda on the 1st of January, welcoming the new decade with a beautiful baby girl.

Sharifah was so excited to bring her into the world. She hasn't given her newborn baby a name yet, but has decided it will be either Samirah or Amirah.

"I decided to deliver from this hospital because it has all necessary equipment for child birth," she says. Sharifah is looking forward to taking her new baby home and embarking on the journey of motherhood.

A newborn baby held by two hands.
A portrait of Sharifah's first born child. Sharifah, 27, was the first to give birth in a hospital in Uganda on the 1st of January welcoming the new decade with a beautiful baby girl.
©UNICEF/UNI259454/Abdul
A woman is holding two babies in her arms. She has a big smile.
Madrine, a Midwife at a hospital in Uganda, is pictured holding newly delivered twin girls, Babirye and Nakato.
©UNICEF/UNI261023/Abdul

Midwife Madrine is passionate about saving babies' lives.

"There is a procedure called resuscitation. A baby is born and there is no life, and even the mother has lost hope, so bringing the baby back to life is the best part of my job," Madrine says.

Australia's Bushfire Emergency

Australia has been hit with one of the worst bushfire seasons on record. Major blazes have killed at least 33 people, destroyed almost 1,700 homes and burned more than 8.4 million hectares.

While Australia has always experienced bushfires, this year, the country has set a new temperature records with some average daily temperatures reaching 41.9°C. The record temperatures come on top of a prolonged period of drought and water shortages. 

Professional and thousands of volunteer firefighters are on the line battling the flames around the clock. They have saved more than 11,000 homes and 4,000 outbuildings or facilities.

The structure of a burnt down bus.
The remnants of a bus after fires tore through Bairnsdale, Victoria.
©UNICEFAustralia/ChristinaSimons
A pile of burns rubbish where a toy dinosaur can be seen
The burnt remains of the fires that hit Clifton Creek.
©UNICEFAustralia/ChristinaSimons

Ten years on

Ten years ago, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated parts of Haiti, destroying much of the country’s fragile infrastructure and leaving many Haitians in dire need of assistance.

UNICEF rapidly mobilised staff in affected areas to save lives - providing emergency water and sanitation, food, shelter, medical assistance, as well as care and support for children who had become separated from their families and caregivers.

A destroyed road. A lot of people walking on the rubble.
Ten years ago, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti.
©UNICEF/UNI87990/LeMoyne
A group of four girls in their school uniforms smile to the camera.
By January 2017, UNICEF had completed the restoration of 14 schools, with another 107 in various stages of progress. The restored schools have made it possible for 4,200 students to return to class. In total, it’s expected that over 36,000 students will return to the schools restored by UNICEF.
©UNICEF/UN047536/Bradley

UNICEF then continued programmatic efforts to help children recover, and worked with partners to strengthen national systems around resilience, protection, health, nutrition, education and more.

A decade later, challenges remain. With a long-term presence in the country, UNICEF remains committed to the children of Haiti, working with the government and other partners to reach vulnerable children with much-needed support.

Liam Neeson calls for greater support for Venezuela

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson joined UNICEF in urging the international community to increase its support to refugee and migrant children from Venezuela in need of assistance across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Neeson met with vulnerable Venezuelan children and families, as well as those from host communities in early January.

Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are already hosting about 3.9 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees in what has become one of the world’s largest migration flows. The number of families leaving Venezuela continues to rise.

This year, over 1.9 million children, including both Venezuelan migrants and those from host communities, are expected to need assistance.

A shelter where there's mattresses and people with personal belongings.
On 7 January 2020 in Brazil, families stay at the Janakoida indigenous shelter in Pacaraima near the border with Venezuela.
©UNICEF/UNI268691/Hiller
Liam Neeson poses with a young boy and a young girl. He is wearing a UNICEF vest.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson joined UNICEF in urging the international community to increase its support to refugee and migrant children from Venezuela in need of assistance across Latin America and the Caribbean.
©UNICEF/UNI268515/Hiller

Inspired? Even from here in Australia, you can do your bit!

UNICEF humanitarians do incredible work out in the field but you too can help all around the world by signing up to make a monthly gift and joining our special group of Global Parents.

UNICEF can reach children no one else can. We can provide safe places for children to learn and play, deliver clean water and life-changing supplies, bring a child back from severe malnutrition and make sure every child smiles. But we can’t do it alone. Help UNICEF deliver these life-changing supplied to every child.