Unicef has today launched a new emergency appeal which is aiming to raise £1.3bn globally, more than doubling its original funding target for coronavirus-related work.
The new appeal, Save Generation Covid, comes after research from Unicef and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that the coronavirus pandemic could lead to up to 1.2 million additional deaths of children under five around the world.
The research looked at three different scenarios in 118 middle-low income countries, and estimates that depending on how much routine health services are reduced because of coronavirus, under-five deaths could grow by between 9.8% and 44.7%.
The organisation had initially appealed for £503.6m in March. It has raised about £193m so far, with top contributors being DFID, World Bank, the government of Japan, development agency USAID and the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
In late 2019, before the coronavirus crisis started, Unicef had set its global funding target for the whole 2020 to £3.28bn. This included asks for different emergencies, starting with £702m to support Syrian refugees across the world.
Unicef said the #GenerationCovid appeal is its biggest individual appeal ever.
Last week, the UN also announced plans to massively scale up its coronavirus fundraising appeal, going from an initial $2bn (£1.6bn) to a $6.7bn (£5.5bn) ask for the World Health Organisation and other UN agencies.
Unicef’s 'agenda for action'
Unicef said its response will be based on a six-point “agenda for action” that focuses on making sure children have access to food, health services, hygiene and education, as well on supporting families, protecting children from violence and helping refugees.
According to Unicef figures, nearly 1.3 billion students are out of school as a result of nationwide school closures in 177 countries.
Sacha Deshmukh, executive director of Unicef UK, said: “This pandemic is having far-reaching consequences for all of us, but it is undoubtedly the biggest and most urgent global crisis children have faced since World War Two.
“Children’s lives are being upended across the globe – their support systems ripped away, their borders closed, their educations lost, their food supply cut off. Even in the UK, children face the threat of a measles outbreak, and school closures are putting vulnerable children at increased risk.
“We cannot allow almost a decade of progress on ending preventable child deaths to become undone on our watch.
“If we have learned anything from this crisis, it’s that our lives are interconnected and we all have a duty to protect children and families around the world. We urgently need the UK public to support Unicef UK in our biggest ever appeal and help us save the Covid generation and ensure that children around the world survive this crisis – and thrive beyond it.”