“We are very concerned, there is a record number of displaced children: more than 36 million”

Unicef ​​launches an SOS to provide emergency aid to 110 million children in 155 countries. The entity has presented its humanitarian action report with an appeal for 10,000 million euros to support children affected by conflicts, catastrophes and climate crises throughout the world in 2023.

–In his last Humanitarian Action for Children Report 2023 They speak of “the growing threat of severe weather events” as one of the causes that explain this emergency appeal.

–We are very concerned about the impact of the climate crisis, from heat waves, floods, droughts… We are experiencing a global hunger crisis and also record numbers of displacement: there are 36.5 million displaced children. It is a data from the end of 2021 and is the highest number ever recorded.

–The executive director of Unicef ​​Spain, Chema Vera, warns that “today there are more boys and girls who need humanitarian aid than at any other time since the Second World War.”

–We make this appeal to be able to focus on these 110 million boys and girls who need urgent humanitarian aid. It is worth noting, for example, areas such as the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia or Kenya, where they have had four consecutive failed rainy seasons, which is causing a considerable increase in malnutrition in boys and girls. In addition, it also increases the risk of gender violence and exploitation due to food shortages, also hindering access to education.

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But there are more factors.

–We are talking about the climate crisis, but the impact of conflicts such as the war in Ukraine must also be taken into account to understand these alarming data. In addition, in other African countries, for example, they are being affected by flooding, which also means that crops cannot get ahead. Pakistan is another country that has suffered serious floods in 2022, the worst in its history, which has affected 30 million people. Floods also cause water-borne diseases and hinder access to basic services, such as health, and, in turn, force people to move. It is a chain reaction, with many displaced internally, but also to neighboring countries.

– They launch an SOS that at this time appeals to the solidarity of the population.

–There are natural disasters or conflicts that are more publicized, but there are many other crises, which we call silent emergencies, because they are not regularly in the media and do not reach public opinion. For us it is very important to be able to publicize the serious situation that millions of children are experiencing and how easy it is to save lives. We appeal to the solidarity not only of civil society, which, of course, is a great support, but also to the involvement of public entities and the private sector, so that everyone can help us in our mission that all children receive the timely vaccinations, we can treat them against malnutrition or also provide them with mental health and psychosocial support.

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This last point is also very important.

–It is very complex because many times we give a lot of data, but behind that data there are children, with their names, their surnames, their faces… Many times they are alone because they are not always accompanied by their families and everything is important the support that we are giving them, for example, in the countries that border Ukraine, through what we call “blue points”, where psychosocial support is provided. There are also many others who need access to health services, in all aspects, and we work so that these children can have the best life possible.

–How is the response of society to this type of emergency requests?

–In emergencies it is, above all, when the population collaborates and joins in, either by becoming a member or with specific donations; both society and the private sector. With the public administrations we work on a more recurring, more stable basis. But they have to be media emergencies: with the war in Ukraine the entire Galician population has turned to all levels. But when we talk about more silent emergencies, like what is happening in Yemen, which, in addition to the drought and extreme heat, has also been at war for years, and collaboration there is not so great. It is true that there are countries where we do not get enough funds to act. We work in every country in the world, but in 2023 we are going to focus on countries where there are the most pressing needs such as Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia. We hope not, but it is possible that in some cases it will be difficult for us to finance, which is what happened to us in 2022, when a good number of countries have received a very small amount of funds. For example, for Syria we have 9% financed, we have 91% left to finance; or Lebanon, which we have only 11% financed. It is very hard not being able to get there because we have the capacity, but we need the resources and support of society at all levels to be able to save lives.

“The pandemic made society realize the importance of also working abroad”

–The pandemic has also been an important touchstone.

–At Unicef, since the pandemic emerged, we have been working on the COVAX mechanism, with the aim of vaccinating all countries. There are many countries with very low vaccination rates and we continue to work so that they can receive the COVID vaccine without forgetting the rest of the vaccines that should be used for children.

–And the pandemic, has it influenced the solidarity of the population?

-In the pandemic there was also a very important and very high collaboration of society. He made me realize how impactful something can be that doesn’t necessarily start here. He helped society to see that we live in a “glocal” world, I don’t know if the word exists in the RAE, but it indicates that it goes from the global to the local and vice versa. Society has realized the importance of working abroad as well. I do believe that there has been a change, a before and after, but we still have work to do to make everything that is happening visible.

To contribute to UNICEF’s work in emergency situations:


The top five appeals for funding requirements for 2023 are for:

  • Afghanistan, $1.65 billion
  • Ukraine and Refugee Response, $1.058 million
  • Syrian refugee crisis, $867 million
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), $862 million
  • Ethiopia, $674 million


As part of your Humanitarian Action for Childrenwhich sets out the agency’s appeal for 2023, UNICEF plans to reach:

  • 8.2 million children with treatment for severe acute malnutrition.
  • 28 million boys and girls vaccinated against measles.
  • 63.7 million people with access to drinking water for their consumption and domestic needs.
  • 23.5 million children, adolescents and caregivers with access to mental health and psychosocial support.
  • 16.2 million girls, boys and women with access to interventions to mitigate, prevent and/or respond to the risk of gender violence.
  • 32 million people with safe and accessible channels to report sexual exploitation and abuse by personnel who provide care to the affected population.
  • 25.7 million children with formal or non-formal education, including early childhood education.

“We are very concerned, there is a record number of displaced children: more than 36 million”