United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has appealed for $6.4 billion emergency funding, including $198.8 million for Bangladesh, to reach 300 million people with essential support and services through the end of 2021.
This is the largest ever amount appealed by Unicef, a 35 percent increase over funds requested for 2020. In that year, the UN agency appealed $135.3 million for Bangladesh including $53.7 million for Rohingya crisis, according to a report.
A press release from the Unicef, published on 3 December, said besides the Covid-19 pandemic, humanitarian crises have added many people including a large number of children to a severely vulnerable situation.
"The pandemic has worsened protracted emergencies in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, South Sudan, Ukraine and Venezuela. This coming March will mark 10 years of conflict in Syria and six years of conflict in Yemen, leaving nearly 17 million children in need of humanitarian assistance in these two countries alone," it reads.
"The number of climate-related disasters has tripled in the last 30 years, threatening food security, increasing water scarcity, forcing people from their homes and increasing the risk of conflict and public health emergencies," it added.
In 2021, Unicef plans to reach 300 million people around the world including 190 million children.
As part of its response to Covid-19, Unicef is putting its massive supply and procurement operation behind rolling out a Covid-19 vaccine, with a focus on equity to reach the most vulnerable children and families, said the press release.
"This work includes coordinating with major global airlines and freight providers to step up efforts to deliver vaccines to more than 92 countries around the world as soon as vaccines become available. The agency is also co-leading efforts to help governments' readiness to deploy the vaccines – including by prepositioning syringes, mapping out cold chain equipment, and tackling misinformation," it said.
Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore said, "When a devastating pandemic coincides with conflict, climate change, disaster and displacement, the consequences for children can be catastrophic."
"Today we are facing a child rights emergency in which Covid-19 and other crises are combining to deprive children of their health and wellbeing. This unprecedented situation demands a similarly unprecedented response," she added.