GENEVA (AFP) -The UN children’s agency Thursday launched its biggest ever appeal for US$3.1 billion to help 62 million chil-dren at risk from a “new generation of humanitarian crises”.
The threats ranged from the brutal con-flict in Syria that shows no sign of ending after nearly four years to the Ebola out-break in West Africa and the Ukraine crisis.
“From deadly natural disasters to bru-tal conflicts and fast-spreading epidemics, children across the world are facing a new generation of humanitarian crises,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s director of emer-gency programmes.
“The scale of the crises, their duration and impact are unprecedented,” she told AFP.
Khan said although child fighters were recruited in earlier wars in poorer coun-tries, it was now increasingly becoming common in middle-income nations such as Syria. “We have information that thou-sands of children, mainly boys between the age of 13 and 18, are being recruited by armed groups in Syria,” she said.
“What is new is also that the groups are paying stipends to the families of the children,” Khan said.
The aid appeal is $1 billion higher than last year and targets 98 million people – two-thirds of them children – in 71 countries.