CHARLES, Missouri — UNICEF has launched its largest appeal to date, $3.1 billion, in an attempt to reach 62 million children that are at risk in humanitarian crises worldwide. This is a one billion dollar jump in funding needs since last year’s appeal. UNICEF is requesting that $73.9 million go toward meeting the humanitarian needs for children in the Central African Republic, or CAR, in 2015.
In CAR, UNICEF and its partners are planning to meet various needs in eight categories—nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, child protection, education, HIV and AIDS, rapid response and mechanism. The total affected population is 4.8 million—two million of which are projected to be reached in 2015. UNICEF also plans to reach a little over half of the 2.4 million children affected.
According to UNICEF, the situation in CAR has developed from a silent emergency into a visible and complex humanitarian and protection crisis. This is a result of a 2012 Seleka rebel offensive and a seizure of power in March of 2013. The situation became increasingly worse when anti-Balaka fought against Seleka. Last January, following the resignation of the Seleka leader, Catherine Samba-Panza was appointed as Central African Republic’s president.
Violence ensued often resulting in civilian targets, leaving thousands wounded and killed—including children that were killed or maimed. With an estimated half a million people displaced at the end of 2014, UNICEF estimated that 2.7 million people would be in need of assistance in 2015 in CAR.
Despite efforts being made by international military forces and others, CAR is still lacking critical basic services. Water, health care, nutrition and HIV/AIDS services are very limited due to the breakdown of the health system and limited availability of health staff and medicines.
Rapid Response Mechanism & WASH
UNICEF is the cluster lead for water, sanitation and hygiene, or WASH. UNICEF plans to continue to engage with the Transitional National Authority to enable more effective humanitarian planning and accountability. Because of CAR’s fragile and devastating situation, an emphasis is being placed on emergency programs. These emergency programs will remain focued on life-saving interventions to address vaccine-preventable and water-borne diseases, malaria, HIV and malnutrition. The programs will also work to reduce the risks faced by displaced populations, including access to water and sanitation.
UNICEF also coordinated a Rapid Response Mechanism, or RRM that will provide non-food items, safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities to at least 200,000 displaced people. UNICEF has also planned to support functional and accurate monitoring and reporting mechanisms on grave child rights violations. Furthermore, UNICEF plans not only to identify but also release all children that are associated with armed groups and facilitate the reunification with their families and assist them in reintegrating through the alternate education strategy for out-of-school children.
One of the greatest elements that a developing nation can improve and see long-term positive effects is their education system. According to UNICEF, they remain committed to enabling access to pre-primary and primary education, emphasizing safety, quality of teaching and improved learning. The programs will also continue to favor transversal approaches that are sensitive to the needs of vulnerable populations.
To find out the breakdown of how the funds will be used and the results of last year’s programs, visit UNICEF’s website at http://www.unicef.org/appeals/car.html.
– Eastin Shipman