UNICEF: Children Suffer in West and Central Africa

UNICEF- Sudan Events

A forecast says 46.7 million children face another year of humanitarian need in West and Central Africa mainly due to ongoing conflict and insecurity, including in the central Sahel region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the massive displacement of women and children into Chad from Sudan.
UNICEF in the region is urgently appealing for $1.89 billion in its 2024 Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal, which would help reach an estimated 24.1 million children, up from 23.5 million in 2023.
“West and Central Africa is home to a large number of critically underfunded emergencies, and some of the most neglected humanitarian crises in the world for children,” said UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Felicité Tchibindat. “Children do not cause conflicts but are powerless to stop them. We need to do more to build a lasting solution for the region’s children and give them hope as they grow up in the midst of chronic and forgotten crises.’’
More than a third of the funding requirement in 2024 is to address malnutrition in the region, and the prevalence of wasting in children under five years remains high. The Sahel countries are the most affected with several areas of Burkina Faso, Mali and north-west Nigeria showing emergency levels of child wasting that exceed 15 per cent. In the year up to the end of October 2023, 1.9 million children under five years were admitted for treatment of severe wasting across nine Sahel countries, representing a 20 per cent increase as compared to the same period in 2022. This was in part thanks to a scale up in the coverage of treatment services for child wasting, made possible by funding from donor partners.
Lack of funding remains a major hindrance to humanitarian response in the region, with UNICEF’s two most underfunded appeals globally coming from the region. The 2023 appeal for the humanitarian needs in Burkina Faso ($227 million) was only 11 per cent funded, while the $862 million 2023 appeal for the Democratic Republic of the Congo was only 13 per cent funded.
Some of the region’s humanitarian emergencies include:
• The people of Burkina Faso continue to experience a multidimensional humanitarian crisis that has worsened since 2019. More than 2 million people are displaced inside the country. A de facto blockade by armed groups of areas where more than 1 million people live or have sought refuge has deprived people of free movement and necessary supplies.
• In Cameroon, 4.7 million people (including 2.5 million children) urgently require humanitarian assistance due complex and multifaceted crises: armed conflict causing internal and cross-border displacement, intercommunal violence, disease outbreaks (including cholera and measles) and seasonal flooding.
• Violence, population movements and natural disasters continue to weigh heavily on the children of the Central African Republic. Despite some decrease in insecurity and conflict-related violence, 2.8 million people (nearly half of the country’s population) will require humanitarian assistance in 2024. This includes 1.3 million children.

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