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UNICEF: 2023 one of most difficult years for children, worldwide

New Delhi, Dec. 27: In an interview with a Turkish news agency, the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF (Humanitarian Action and Supply Operations), Ted Chaiban pointed out, “2023 has been one of the most difficult years for children worldwide.”

Chaiban expressed concern that “In Gaza, the proportion of children killed as a percentage of the total death toll is over 40%.”  This number was “twice what we’ve seen in over 40 conflicts where we have this aggregated data.”

Describing the violence as unprecedented and indiscriminate, the UNIFEF’s Humanitarian Action in-charge lamented, “UNICEF’s 2023 appeal for children was roughly 50% funded, leading to a reduction in 2024’s appeal by 16%.”

Referring to the crisis in Sudan, Chaiban reminded the world about a similar crisis 20 years ago in Darfur.  Calling it “A stain on our consciousness”, he said, “What’s happened in Sudan and what is occurring right now is a repeat of history. We’re seeing children and their families that are being pulled out of their villages, forced to go across the border in Chad, in what is community-based targeted violence, essentially.”

Chaiban felt that the whole country was being dislocated and “We’ve got the largest child displacement in the world occurring as we speak in Sudan.”

UNICEF plans to vaccinate 17.3 million children against measles, treat 7.6 million children suffering malnutrition, provide education to 19.3 million children, and community-based mental health and psychosocial support to 26.7 million children.

UNICEF has recently launched a $9.3 billion emergency funding appeal for 2024, aiming to assist 93.7 million children across 155 countries. The organization has identified the top five appeals based on funding requirements for the year. These appeals include Afghanistan, which requires $1.44 billion, Syrian refugees and other vulnerable populations with $860 million, Sudan with $840 million, the Democratic Republic of Congo with $804 million, and Ukraine and the refugee response with $580 million.

However, many of its initiatives are critically underfunded, according to the new appeal. This paucity of aid will affect Sudan, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Haiti, Ethiopia, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Bangladesh. UNICEF’s efforts are crucial in addressing these urgent needs and providing essential support to the affected children in these regions.



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