The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has launched a record $9.4 billion emergency funding appeal to reach more than 327 million people, including 177 million children, affected by humanitarian crises and the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide.
This year's funding appeal is 31 per cent higher than last year, Xinhua news agency reported.
"Millions of children around the world are suffering from the impacts of conflict, extreme weather events and the climate crisis," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore in a press release.
"As the Covid-19 pandemic approaches its third year, the plight of these children is made even worse with faltering economies, growing poverty and rising inequality. As always, it is the children already living through crises who are the hardest hit. They need urgent help."
The appeal includes 2 billion dollars for UNICEF's response in Afghanistan, where 13 million children need urgent humanitarian assistance. These include 1 million children who are facing severe acute malnutrition at a time when the health system is on the verge of collapse.
The Afghanistan appeal is UNICEF's largest-ever single-country appeal.
An additional 933 million dollars will be allocated to the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, a global effort to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines, said UNICEF.
The fund is asking for $909 million for the Syrian refugee crisis, another $334 million for the crisis inside Syria, $484 million for response in Yemen, and over $356 million for programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In Ethiopia, where 15.6 million children need humanitarian aid and where brutal fighting displaced hundreds of thousands of children in the north, UNICEF will require 351 million dollars for its life-saving work.