Unicef: 16.5 million children in Latin America will require help in 2023

Unicef: 16.5 million children in Latin America will require help in 2023

UNICEF warned this Monday that 16.5 million children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean will need humanitarian aid in 2023, so this UN fund needs to raise 723 million dollars in order to provide this assistance.

The increase in migratory flows, violence and climate risks are having an impact on children and adolescents in the region, said the United Nations Children’s Fund or UNICEF during the presentation of its appeal for Humanitarian Action for Children.

MIGRATION AND CLIMATE CRISIS

In recent years, Latin America and the Caribbean “has registered one of the biggest migratory crises in the world outside of conflict zones,” UNICEF stressed, citing the historic figure of almost 32,000 children and adolescents who crossed on foot between January and last October the dangerous jungle of the Darién, the border between Colombia and Panama, on its way to North America.

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The region is also exposed to natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and droughts. Almost 1.5 million children and adolescents were affected by these emergencies throughout Latin America and the Caribbean in 2022.

Venezuelan children suffer from severe malnutrition, denounces Leopoldo López. PHOTO: INTERNET

“Whether or not they are accompanied by their parents, more and more children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean are embarking on a journey across the continent in search of a better and safer life,” said the UNICEF regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Youssouf Abdel-Jelil.

THE VULNERABILITY OF CHILDREN

Throughout this “dangerous journey,” said the official, “boys, girls, and adolescents are especially exposed to suffering from malnutrition, infectious diseases, abuse, exploitation, and family separation.”

During the migratory journey, children and adolescents face risks as they often have few or no options to move through safe and regular routes and their access to essential services is limited or interrupted. Upon arrival in host communities, most are exposed to discrimination and xenophobia.

“Simply, we cannot ignore this worsening of the humanitarian crisis in terms of children’s rights that now affects all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, be it in the country of origin, transit or destination”, declared the Unicef ​​Regional Director.

women runner dry
Photo: Reuters

He warned that “if sufficient and urgent humanitarian assistance is not provided to migrant families and host communities, not only is the safety and well-being of millions of children and adolescents being endangered, but also the stability of and peace throughout the region.

FUNDS FOR HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

That is why UNICEF has launched a funding appeal for 723 million dollars to support the preparation and response to emerging crises in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the strengthening of local and national response systems, as well as to provide children, adolescents and their families access to essential services throughout their migratory journey.

These funds will also serve to carry out integrated interventions that facilitate the access of children and adolescents to education, health and protection services in host communities, said the UN fund.

“Thanks to donor contributions this year, UNICEF and its partners working on the ground assisted nearly 5.2 million migrants and refugees, providing them with access to primary health care, vaccinations, nutrition, water and sanitation facilities, education, as well as psychosocial support, alternative care and the reunification of unaccompanied children with their families, among other child protection services”.

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