Nearly a quarter of the world’s school-age children live in crisis-hit countries – UNICEF

NEW YORK, 5th May, 2016 (WAM) – Almost one quarter of the world’s school-age children – 462 million – live in countries affected by humanitarian emergencies – a new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and partners has revealed.

The report, entitled ‘Education Cannot Wait Proposal,’ found that nearly one in six – or 75 million – children from pre-primary to upper-secondary age (3 to 18 years old) living in nations affected by crises is classed as being in desperate need of educational support. However, on average, only 2 per cent of global humanitarian appeals are dedicated to education, UNICEF said in a press release.

“Education changes lives in emergencies,” said Josephine Bourne, UNICEF’s Global Chief of Education. “Going to school keeps children safe from abuses like trafficking and recruitment into armed groups and is a vital investment in children’s futures and in the future of their communities. It is time education is prioritized by the international community as an essential part of basic humanitarian response, alongside water, food and shelter.”

UNICEF said it released the new statistics ahead of the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May, where a new fund – Education Cannot Wait – will be launched to give access to learning to children in need in emergencies.

The fund aims to raise nearly $4 billion to reach 13.6 million children in need of education in emergencies within five years, before reaching 75 million children by 2030, the agency said.

The new report, which was written by the Overseas Development Institute, came as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom travelled to eastern Ukraine to raise awareness of the global education crisis facing children in humanitarian emergencies.