UNICEF is appealing for US$14 million to respond to the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe, with US$6.5 urgently needed for the immediate response in the next 6 months.
Refugee and migrant flows in Europe are at an unprecedented high. In 2015, over 80 per cent of people arriving in Europe across the Mediterranean and on route through Greece and the West Balkans, are escaping the conflict in Syria. As of September 2015, UNHCR estimates that over 440,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe and an additional 450,000 are estimated for 2016. One in every four asylum seekers is a child. A total of 133,000 children sought asylum in the European Union between January and July 2015 with an average of 19,000 children every month, according to the latest available Eurostat data.
Many Syrian refugees arrive in neighboring countries and Europe having gone months without access to basic services and traumatized by the violence they have experienced or witnessed. Over the course of their journey to Europe, refugees and migrants endure tremendous hardship. Many face ill-treatment and abuse by smugglers and local gangs. Furthermore, the approaching winter is likely to affect routes used for onward movement to and within Europe.
UNICEF’s immediate appeal focuses on countries with the greatest number of children on the move, with scaled up interventions in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and identifying entry points for support in Greece, Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria. The appeal also includes UNICEF’s support in countries of eventual destination such as Germany, where there may be significant relocation and resettlement of refugees, and countries where new refugee and migrant movements could appear. UNICEF will also continue to support programme interventions in Syria and in neighboring countries, addressing the immediate needs of children there, thus enabling an integrated and coherent approach to families on the move seeking protection in Europe. With the fast moving and fluid situation, this appeal will be revised in the coming 3-6 months to more accurately reflect the evolving humanitarian situation.