The Eastern and Southern Africa region continues to face multiple and more frequent humanitarian crises, including conflict and insecurity, economic shocks, climate change, natural hazards and disease outbreaks.1 More than 17 million people (45 per cent children) remain food insecure throughout the region. Humanitarian situations that are addressed within this regional plan can be split into four distinct subregions, each with their own characteristics: a) South Sudan and Uganda, where the war in South Sudan has led to a catastrophic humanitarian situation for children inside the country and the largest and fastest growing refugee crisis in Africa;2 b) the Horn of Africa, where a combination of conflict, drought and disease outbreaks, particularly in Ethiopia and Somalia, has left 9.7 million children in need of humanitarian assistance; c) the Great Lakes region, where the political instability in Burundi has led to growing humanitarian needs for children in the country, as well as in neighbouring countries, where nearly 200,000 children have sought refuge in Rwanda and Tanzania; and d) southern Africa, where countries remain affected by drought,3 cholera/acute watery diarrhoea,4 other disease outbreaks (e.g. plague in Madagascar and typhoid in Zimbabwe) and natural disasters, including cyclones in Comoros, Madagascar and Mozambique.
Regional humanitarian strategy
Humanitarian funds channelled through the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office are strategically allocated to facilitate response to children's most pressing needs across the region. These funds also enable countries to enhance their preparedness and response to emergencies,5 particularly those emergencies that require a multi-country, integrated and immediate response, and those countries that are likely to require new humanitarian programming in 2018 but without dedicated appeals in Humanitarian Action for Children 2018.6 This regional appeal focuses on four components. The first is to support multi-country actions for children and women who are displaced and have crossed borders as refugees or migrants, by providing technical assistance to governments and other service providers on child protection case management, family tracing and reunification, and alternative care for unaccompanied and separated children, as well as basic services for health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition and education. This also includes facilitating the generation and dissemination of child-focused knowledge products, tools and guidance for effective programme monitoring and advocacy.7 The second is to support drought-affected countries through the delivery of life-saving interventions for children in partnership with national and international actors, focusing on a multi-sectoral and integrated approach in key sectors, including WASH, nutrition, education and health, and support for sector coordination. The third is to support cholera response in the region by providing clean water supply, household sanitation and hygiene and WASH in schools and health facilities, and contribute to strengthening national systems. The fourth is to provide regional technical assistance, quality assurance and oversight to support countries to achieve humanitarian results in health, nutrition, child protection, education, HIV/AIDS, social protection, WASH and Communication for Development. Through the Regional Office, UNICEF will also facilitate country collaboration across borders to ensure that assistance is provided to populations in vulnerable border regions and harmonized among country offices. In addition, the Regional Office will support capacity building for effective preparedness, response and recovery for humanitarian situations through the ongoing regional roll-out of the Emergency Preparedness Platform and emergency preparedness and response training, including training on humanitarian performance monitoring and sector-specific humanitarian action.
Results from 2017
As of 31 October 2017, UNICEF had US$19.3 million available against the US$20.3 million appeal (95 per cent funded).8 In 2017, the UNICEF Regional Office supported 17 country-led humanitarian responses, including the Level 3 response in South Sudan. In regard to new and existing refugee-receiving countries, the Regional Office made significant contributions to inter-agency efforts, including the comprehensive refugee response frameworks and regional refugee response plans for the situations in Burundi and South Sudan. Emergency preparedness activities were rolled out in more than 10 countries and some 225 staff received related training. Ten countries integrated risk-informed approaches into their respective country programmes. Across the region, in 2017, the Regional Office and partners reached nearly 900,000 women and children under 5 with life-saving health interventions; 105,000 children with severe acute malnutrition with therapeutic treatment; and 730,000 people with clean water. In addition, 320,000 children were able to remain in or return to school; 123,000 children received comprehensive child protection services; 100,000 people received HIV and AIDS care; and more than 5,000 households received emergency unconditional cash assistance.9 All country offices also received technical support for humanitarian coordination in nutrition, health and water, as well as support for programmes and information management.