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Humanitarian Action for Children 2018 - Latin America and the Caribbean

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Regional Office 2018 Requirements: US$10,565,000

A disaster-prone region, Latin America and the Caribbean was devastated in 2017, with more than 15.6 million people, including 8 million children, affected by natural disasters. Hurricane Irma, the most powerful hurricane ever recorded over the Atlantic, followed by Hurricane Maria, left more than 1.4 million people—one third of them children—in need of humanitarian assistance in Cuba, Haiti and the Eastern Caribbean islands. Two major earthquakes shook Mexico in September, killing hundreds in an area where at least 7 million children live.

Several countries in South America, particularly Colombia and Peru, were hit by heavy rains, causing floods and landslides and exacerbating the needs of already vulnerable children and their families. Children in the region have also faced the consequences of organized violence, forced migration and exploitation, with children making up 62 per cent of detected trafficking victims. Latin America and the Caribbean is also the region most affected by Zika, and children are particularly vulnerable to health emergencies such as cholera and yellow fever. Despite significant progress in recent years, the humanitarian situation in 2017 illustrated the importance of strengthening emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction among authorities and partners across the region.

Regional humanitarian strategy

In 2018, UNICEF's Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office will continue to build its capacity and reputation as a reliable and effective partner for governments and humanitarian and development actors. The Regional Office will leverage its proven capacities in all areas of responsibility (water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, health, nutrition and child protection), and will demonstrate leadership in risk analysis and resilience, with both preparedness and response capacity. A particular focus area will be enhancing human and financial resources, as well as humanitarian supplies and resource mobilization strategies and mechanisms. The Regional Office will consolidate its preparedness and response capacities by investing in field capacity through its regional response roster. Capacities to lead and coordinate preparedness and response across sectors will be enhanced through the identification and training of appropriate human resources, and by advocating for the elaboration and implementation of protocols and guidelines. Evidence gathering will be strengthened to support advocacy, resource mobilization and the collective efforts of the humanitarian community for child-focused preparedness and response. Country offices will be supported through training, planning and simulations for improved preparedness and response capacity.

Based on its regional strategy, the Regional Office will also bolster supply and logistics capacities at both the regional and country levels. Cooperation with governments, regional disaster management bodies, academia, the social and private sectors and other innovative capacities will be mobilized to reinforce humanitarian action, and new sectoral areas, including social inclusion, will be incorporated to reinforce the humanitarian-development nexus and related linkages. The Regional Office will maximize regional opportunities for linking social protection efforts with both humanitarian and resilience work, and will continue to work with country offices to reinforce these by building a knowledge base and appropriate tools. Risk analysis will be strengthened through the adaptation and implementation of tools, setting the stage for the implementation of better risk-informed programming. Regional capacity for preparedness and response to health emergencies such as Zika will be strengthened, focusing on the implementation of tools and procedures in high-risk countries. The Regional Office will also work to expand the knowledge base of country offices on the impacts of climate change on children, as well as urban settings and gender-related issues, all from a child's rights perspective.

Results from 2017

As of 31 October 2017, UNICEF had US$11.2 million available against the original US$7.2 million appeal. Fundraising was scaled up in response to the emergencies in Mexico and Peru, and a dedicated Humanitarian Action for Children appeal was launched for the response to the Caribbean hurricanes. The funds received allowed the Regional Office to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance in response to emergencies, including in Mexico, Peru and the Caribbean. The regional response roster was activated and deployed critical staff to increase capacities in affected countries. A regional supply and logistics strategy was developed and during crisis responses, emergency supplies were distributed, including more than 22,000 mosquito nets and 3,000 family hygiene kits. A multi-sector response was implemented in 18 countries, comprising the provision of holistic care and support services to families affected by Zika, prevention support for high-risk groups, promotion of key prevention messages that reached over 170 million people, and the provision of non-clinical care and support interventions for 608 families. UNICEF programming in the region was strengthened through improved risk analysis, including the expansion of the INFORM Index for Risk Management and the incorporation of a disaster risk lens in results-based management trainings and planning processes.