Between July and September 2021, approximately 61,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.1 Compared to the previous quarter, the number of arrivals increased drastically in Bulgaria (+208%), Italy (+96%), and Serbia (+88%). Children were also at the center of migration situations in Northeast Europe and Ceuta.
During the reporting period, UNICEF in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro reached 13,998 children (38% girls, 62% boys) with child protection services, including mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS). 7,240 children (46% girls, 54% boys) benefitted from access to health checks and referrals, as well as life-saving vaccines. 7,460 children and families (6% girls, 4% boys, 90% women) accessed services related to gender-based violence (GBV), including risk mitigation, prevention, and response interventions.
Within the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the approaching winter season and with increasing number of refugees and migrants in the region, continued efforts are required to ensure access to and quality of protection and basic services, including health, child protection, education and addressing genderbased violence.
As of September 2021, UNICEF had received US$ 24.6 million out of US$ 47.8 million requested. With an additional US$ 7.7 million of carry-forward funding, a funding gap of US$ 15.5 million remains. UNICEF acknowledges and appreciates the generous contributions from all public and private sector donors to support its response to the migrant and refugee crisis.
Situation in numbers
Estimated # of arrivals in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro in Q3 2021
Estimated # of children among all arrivals Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro in Q3 2021
Estimated # of children present in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro
Estimated # of unaccompanied and separated children registered in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina
Funding Overview and Partnerships
The UNICEF 2021 Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal was revised in July 2021 to increase the initial requirement of US$ 36.4 million to cover significant costs related to UNICEF’s leading role in providing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) support in Lesvos and child protection, and non-formal education in open accommodation sites in Greece. With this revision, UNICEF requires US$ 47.8 million respond to the humanitarian needs of the refugee and migrant population in 2021.
Since January, the European Commission, US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UNICEF National Committees in Italy, Germany, Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal, as well as Global Humanitarian Thematic funds, SetAside Funds and Global Social Inclusion Thematic funds have generously contributed to the UNICEF 2021 HAC. UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to all public and private donors for contributions received. The funding enabled UNICEF and partners to deliver direct services in the areas of health, nutrition, WASH, child protection, GBV, education, youth empowerment and risk communications, as well as to support government-led COVID-19 response coordination mechanisms in all six countries.
The overall funding gap for the revised 2021 HAC stands at 32%, with specific needs in health and nutrition (59%), adolescent and youth programme (56%), and education (37%) programming. Significant funding gaps persist for Bulgaria (68%), Montenegro (71%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (42%), Serbia (40%) and Italy (35%). Most notably, an unexpected increase in refugee and migrant arrivals in Italy in the summer of 2021 has stretched existing capacities, requiring additional resources to address the immediate needs on child protection, health, and nutrition and GBV.
At the country level, UNICEF continues to work closely with UN agencies, international organizations, civil societies, and faith-based organisations to advance the shared goal of supporting children on the move and addressing xenophobia and racism. Close cooperation with UNHCR and IOM for effective emergency response, relocation, and country-specific initiatives are ongoing. Working directly with Parliaments, Ministries and EU institutions, UNICEF and partners develop and deliver unified and coordinated messages and policy positions while also advocating for key child rights issues faced by children on the move.