UNICEF Appeals for Aid for Women and Children
Download MP3 (Right-click or option-click the link.)
This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
UNICEF is appealing for more than one billion dollars in aid for women and children around the world. The United Nations Children's Fund has released its "Humanitarian Action Report" for 2010. The report lists 28 countries and territories with some of the world's most pressing crises affecting women and children.
Haiti was considered to be in crisis long before the earthquake in January. The deputy executive director of UNICEF, Hilde Johnson, says the quake has only made the need for aid more immediate. But she says children all over the world have the right to the same assistance as children everywhere else.
The "Humanitarian Action Report" discusses several issues that UNICEF says increasingly threaten the basic rights of women and children. It says climate change has caused droughts and food insecurity in many areas. High food prices and the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 have only added to poverty and malnutrition. And armed conflict continues to threaten the lives of millions.
Hilde Johnson says children are always the most affected by conflicts and disasters. They face an increased risk of abuse, including sexual violence and other serious rights violations.
UNICEF deals with about 200 emergencies around the world every year. The greatest need last year was in sub-Saharan Africa. The report says drought, food insecurity and civil unrest affected about 24 million people.
Violence and displacements of people were especially bad in Sudan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
In Asia, UNICEF expects its financial assistance needs to more than double this year. This is partly the result of adding Pakistan and the Philippines to the latest report. In Pakistan, it says, more than two million people have been forced from their homes by the conflict in the Swat Valley and other areas of the northwest. And in the Philippines, more than 200,000 people are still living in shelters after severe storms last year.
This year's UNICEF report talks about the value of public and private partnerships in helping children and families in emergencies.
And that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by June Simms. I'm Steve Ember.