In a bid to help 62 million children across the world who are facing a "new generation of humanitarian crises", the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) launched a record $3.1 billion appeal on Thursday.
From the incessant and devastating war in Syria to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, the threats for children in recent times have grown out of proportion. "From deadly natural disasters to brutal conflicts and fast-spreading epidemics, children across the world are facing a new generation of humanitarian crises," Afshan Khan, UNICEF's director of emergency programmes, was quoted as saying by The Nation.
The aid of $3.1 billion that the agency is currently seeking, is almost one-third ($1 billion) more than it did last year. "The scale of the crises, their duration and impact are unprecedented," revealed Khan, who went on to add: "conflicts are increasingly taking on sub-regional dimensions."
Currently, the issue that needs immediate attention is the use of children in armed conflict, Khan said. The propaganda videos circulated by ISIS, Boko Haram and other terrorist groups often shows minors being used to kill a hostage.
"We have information that thousands 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."
The sought amount targets 98 million people – two-thirds of them children – in 71 countries. Around 20 percent of the total aid would be invested in education, which is "the bridge to the future".