How children will continue to suffer unless $22bn of humanitarian aid is delivered

Barriers to education, Children in conflicts, Children's welfare after natural disasters, Early childhood development, Education in emergencies, Refugees and internally displaced people

The United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released its Global Humanitarian Overview 2017 last week - here is a look at some of the key points that affect children, their education and their development.

With the world facing levels of humanitarian crises not seen since the Second World War, $22.2 billion of financial aid is urgently required in 2017 to help 93 million marginalised people across the world.

More than 128 million people worldwide are affected by war and natural disasters – including 75 million children whose education has been affected – says OCHA.

“The scale of humanitarian crises today is greater than at any time since the United Nations was founded,”  said Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

“Not in living memory have so many people needed our support and solidarity to survive and live in safety and dignity.”

Launching the report in Geneva, Switzerland, he added: “Our collective plans to meet people’s needs are ready. They are effective and efficient investments – the best way to help those who need help now. 

“Funding in support of the plans will translate into life-saving food assistance to people on the brink of starvation in the Lake Chad Basin and South Sudan; it will provide protection for the most vulnerable people in Syria, Iraq and Yemen; and it will enable education for children whose schooling is disrupted by El Niño.”

The report said conflicts in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria were fuelling new displacement within countries and across borders. It also highlighted four regional refugee response plans for Burundi, Nigeria, South Sudan and Syria.

The video above shows the situation in Syria. Here is a look at some of the other countries featured in the report.


1.3 million Libyans, refugees, migrants and asylum seekers urgently need humanitarian assistance. Without support, 439,000 children will be deprived of psychosocial support, community-based child protection services and community reintegration to overcome the trauma caused by gender-based or other violence.


An estimated 3.7 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2017. Forecasts indicate that as many as 850,000 people will need nutrition assistance - of whom 142,000 children under the age of five will suffer from severe acute malnutrition.


About 218,000 displaced people, 80% of them women and children, remain in camps or camp-like situations. Particular focus is placed on vulnerable people, including women and children, the sick, older people and people with disabilities.


Approximately 1.9 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2017. From January to October 2016, around 270,000 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition and 317,000 for moderate acute malnutrition. Without appropriate resources in 2017, 250,000 children under five may suffer from severe acute malnutrition. 


Five million people require humanitarian assistance, including more than 300,000 malnourished children. Partners reached 1.6 million people with food assistance and treated over 139,000 children under five for malnutrition as of September 2016. Lack of access to education will increase the risk of child abduction, abuse and recruitment into armed forces.


Over 90,000 refugees, including an estimated 63,000 children, fled to Sudan in 2016, bringing the total number since December 2013 to over 250,000. Nearly two million children under five are acutely malnourished, including in the east of the country, which is not affected by conflict. In 2016, over 142,000 children received treatment for severe acute malnutrition.


At least 18.7 million people, including 2.1 million displaced persons, require humanitarian assistance. Currently, 14.1 million people are food insecure or malnourished. Of these, seven million are acutely food insecure. About 3.3 million children and pregnant or lactating women are acutely malnourished.

Now learn about how you can help Syrian refugee children in other countries

The governments of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan – host to huge numbers of Syrian refugees – have been trying their best to accommodate as many children as possible into their state school systems. But they desperately need financial aid from the international community.

That money was promised by world leaders in February – and although progress has been made, it’s not enough. Action must be taken urgently to get these children into school.

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