'Substantial' shortfalls in humanitarian funding are placing the lives of millions of children in areas affected by conflict and disaster at risk, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned Tuesday.
With 2019 almost over, the agency reported that it has still only received just over half of the $4 billion it needs this year, to provide life-saving health, education, nutrition and protection programmes for 41 million children in nearly 60 countries worldwide.
'Millions of vulnerable children around the world are suffering the grievous consequences of increasingly complex humanitarian crises', UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said.
'Without additional resources, these children will not go to school, be vaccinated, receive adequate nutrition, or be protected from violence and abuse. While we continue to appeal for an end to conflicts and better readiness to emergencies, we need additional donor support to help us meet children's most basic needs.'
Emergencies in Pakistan, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Venezuela currently have the largest funding gaps, but the agency's ability to respond in Syria and neighbouring countries - as well as in Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Bangladesh - also remains significantly underfunded, UNICEF said.
The UN agency said the consequences will be 'dire' if the shortfalls persist...