The Ebola and Syria crises have sharply increased the need for aid for children this year, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said Thursday, appealing for a record 3.1 billion dollars to help 62 million boys and girls around the world.wpid-unicef1.jpg

The annual appeal was 1 billion dollars higher than in 2014.

Nearly a third of the total sum is needed to care for children who live in Syria or who have fled to countries in the region to escape the conflict, UNICEF said in Geneva.

More than half of the 3.8 million Syrian refugees in the Middle East are younger than 18.

“For the past four years, these children have been witnessing violence and death daily and have been missing out on the very basics in life,” said Afshan Khan, head of UNICEF’s emergency programmes.

Some 500 million dollars are needed to help children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries at the centre of the Ebola outbreak, UNICEF said, noting that many boys and girls have been orphaned because of the epidemic.

UNICEF said that one in 10 children around the world lives in a region that is affected by an armed conflict, including Ukraine, Nigeria, the Congo, the Gaza Strip, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Whether in the headlines or hidden from view, emergencies sparked by social fracture, climate change and disease are stalking children in ways we have never seen before,” Khan added.



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