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The 2013 Humanitarian Action Report

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— You’ve probably heard about the ongoing conflict in Syria. Or the typhoon that struck the Philippines. Or the food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa. But did you know that UNICEF responded to some 200 other emergencies last year? Each year, UNICEF publishes the Humanitarian Action Report, which provides a snapshot of emergencies around the world and describes what needs to be done to help children in their path.

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Helping Children Heal During Wartime

Syrian refugees in Za'atari refugee camp

— Jane MacPhail is a UNICEF Child Protection Specialist. She makes the 1 1/2 hour journey to Za’atari every day. Jane works with children to draw and imagine a world without war. “Syrian children have been through too much,” she says. “Over the course of the past 22 months, children witnessed war, shelling, injuries and torture. They have had to leave their homes and country with the little they could carry. They’ve lost a sense of identity and hope.”

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Danny Kaye Always Went the Extra Mile

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— My father, Danny Kaye, whose 100th birthday we are celebrating today, was appointed the first UNICEF ambassador to the world’s children in 1954. Though my father achieved legendary success in Hollywood, on Broadway, television and the concert stage, he often said working with UNICEF was his most rewarding role. He always went the extra mile. Perhaps you will be inspired to go that extra mile, too.

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Field Diary: Winter in Battle-Scarred Homs

A UNICEF staff member talks with children at a displaced persons shelter in Homs. ©UNICEF/Syria 2012

Mark Choonoo, UNICEF Emergency Specialist, was in Homs recently and shares his first-hand account on the situation there and the impact the destruction wrought by the conflict has on children and families.
It’s bitterly cold, with overnight temperatures dropping to below freezing. Many children I saw were wearing only light clothes and sandals, or only socks without shoes. All the children I talked to complained about the cold. Many expressed sadness about friends who had gone away and not returned, but despite all of this, they seemed happy to be home.

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Mia Farrow Reports from Lebanon

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow views flood damage in Haiti in 2008. ©UNICEF/NYHQ2008-0738/Roger LeMoyne

— UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow is in Lebanon to meet refugees from the conflict in Syria, as the needs and numbers of those fleeing continue to rise. She is blogging from the field, and you can follow her posts at http://unicef.tumblr.com/. She will also be participating in a Twitter chat tomorrow. During her visit, Ms. Farrow will travel to two locations close to the Syrian border, and will speak with both refugees and host families. In addition, she will visit UNICEF-supported child-friendly spaces, where children who have witnessed the horrors of the conflict receive psychosocial support and counseling.

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Haiti: Progress for Children

A piece of rubble from a school that had been shattered in Port-au-Prince during the earthquake of 2010.

Hurricane Sandy greeted me on arrival in Port au Prince on October 24th. When I left the island a few days later, the skies were clear and my heart was lighter.

As focal point for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s emergency response, I was in Haiti to survey post-earthquake progress UNICEF and partners have made in the areas of education, nutrition and child protection.

With each return trip, I see improvement in the removal of debris and the expansion of essential services for children. This trip, I was able to preview the first major benchmarking survey on the health and well-being of children pre- and post-earthquake. The data was solid, and revealed dramatic, measurable progress.

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