Razan Rashidi, communication officer with UNICEF in Damascus, describes how ordinary people have become essential partners to international organisations who are responding to the crisis. Thousands of people have had to leave their homes to seek refuge in safer places, often schools and mosques. By last weekend, at least 15 schools in Damascus and 18 more in outlying areas were housing displaced families. Some people have taken displaced families into their own homes, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for local residents to meet their own needs, let along those of their guests. Conditions in the local schools and mosques are not easy, either, and even young children are stepping up to help.
Category Archives for "UNICEF in the Field"
One year ago, a humanitarian crisis was taking place in the Horn of Africa. Two million children were at the risk of dying of starvation, and on July 20, 2011 the United Nations declared famine in parts of Somalia. Thanks to the generous support from donors and sponsors, 1 million children have been treated for malnutrition in the region.
On this anniversary we wanted to go beyond just the numbers and get a more personal perspective on the situation. So I sat down with Lisa Szarkowski, Vice President of Public Advocacy and Strategic Communications for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, who had been in the region during the crisis. Lisa told me some very moving stories of the
on-ground situation and the work that UNICEF does.
Recently I had the amazing opportunity to meet Sonia Sukdeo, Education Specialist and Gender Focal Point with UNICEF Madagascar, who was visiting the U.S. Fund for UNICEF offices in New York. During a staff discussion, Sonia shared with us information about Madagascar and what UNICEF is doing there to ensure that all children have an opportunity at a healthy and productive life. For many of us who are fortunate enough to live in a developed country, Madagascar may be an afterthought or a tourist destination, but the political, social and economic issues of the Madagascan people are very real—especially for young girls.
I recently had the opportunity to organize a roundtable discussion on the emergency in the Sahel region of Africa. The event, co-hosted by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and the Corporate Council on Africa, provided corporate participants an overview of the crisis and the impact of the drought and malnutrition on the region. Guillaume Sauval, Emergency Specialist at UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Programs, explained that the causes of hunger and malnutrition in the region are deeply rooted, with chronic underdevelopment and multiple droughts in recent years leaving the population vulnerable, even to small shocks.
This week America celebrates its independence. But many people in the world do not even enjoy the most basic freedoms, like having a place to live, food to eat, clean water to drink and access to healthcare. If you’ve been visiting our website, you know that the Sahel region in Africa is a place where even the most basic needs for survival are not being met. UNICEF has been tracking the situation in Mali and the rest of the Sahel region and is doing everything it can to save the children and families of Mali. Here is some of the work that UNICEF has been doing.
Mauritania—one of the nine Sahel countries that are grappling with a life-threatening nutrition crisis—is facing a double emergency. In addition to the food crisis, the country must handle an influx of refugees from neighboring, conflict-torn Mali. All told, some 700,000 people in Mauritania are struggling to get enough to eat. U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s Managing Director of Communications, Mia Brandt, recently traveled to Mauritania and witnessed firsthand the challenges facing families.