UNICEF works in 22 countries and territories1 in Europe and Central Asia Region (ECAR) and is present in Italy, supporting refugee and migrant populations. During the reporting period:
• New cases of COVID-19 infections continued to rise with the highest daily increases in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro, and Ukraine. The lowest daily increases were recorded in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
• Humanitarian and political developments in Belarus, Greece, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, and most recently an escalation of conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh area is creating additional hardships for populations already struggling with the health and socioeconomic impact of COVID-19, and are complicating government-led efforts to ensure a systematic response to reach the most vulnerable children and families.
• On 9 September, a fire at the Moria Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) on the Greek island of Lesvos left the entire refugee and migrant population of 12,000 people, including 4,200 children, homeless. Within 24 hours of the fire, all 406 previously identified unaccompanied and separated children living inside Moria were safely transferred to the mainland.
• UNICEF programmes across ECAR have reached over 181 million people with COVID-19 prevention and safety messages through online platforms and social media. During the reporting period, in support of children’s safe return to classrooms, UNICEF’s work centred around hygiene promotion in schools and communities. New campaigns were launched in several countries, including Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kosovo*, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Ukraine.
• About 1.6 million people have benefited from WASH supplies support, including hygiene items. As part of school reopening efforts, UNICEF has provided critical hygiene and sanitation supplies for schools and kindergartens; supported WASH assessments in schools and health facilities; and helped develop guidelines and protocols for safe school environments.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
Under UNICEF’s Global Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal for the COVID-19 response, ECAR is appealing for a little over $149 million. At the end of this reporting period, ECAR has raised nearly $51.7 million2 , or nearly 35% of the required funding. UNICEF is grateful for the continued support of all donors and over the reporting period, acknowledges the important financial contributions from the Government of the United States (Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Serbia) and ECHO (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine).
UNICEF’s response in ECAR remains underfunded, particularly in ensuring that the hardest-hit children and families are reached with critical water, sanitation and hygiene supplies; support for distance and home-based learning; child protection and GBV prevention and response services; social protection services.