From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
UNICEF Require More Funds for ‘Humanitarian Needs of Vulnerable Children’ after Earthquake

UNICEF Albania has published its third Earthquake Situation Report, following the 26 November quake. 

According to its findings, 30,000 citizens were affected, 14,000 were displaced, and there were 52 deaths, including six children. In addition to this, there were at least 2000 injuries, 24 severely damaged health institutions, and 36 severely damaged schools.

In terms of displaced individuals, UNICEF reports that 60% of those affected are living in tents and 40% are living in hotels. It states that Durres, Tirana, and Lezhe were worst affected while Vore, Shijak, Kruje, Mireditees, Kurbin, Kavaja, and Kamza were also impacted

At the time of publication, UNICEF state that over 700 children have benefited from the UNICEF emergency response information, through the provision of six child-friendly learning spaces and four temporary learning services. They have also deployed an Emergency Specialist and Child Protection in Emergency Expert to Albania to respond to the situation.

UNICEF said that their focus is on critical child protection and education needs which will include key partnerships and measures that were already in place before the earthquake struck. They say that they remain focused on addressing the urgent, life-sustaining needs of children and their families, with a focus on the most vulnerable.

The organisation is also providing ongoing psycho-social support to some 205 children including psychological first aid and child safeguarding. Psychologists, social workers and teachers are being engaged by them to address a number of issues, including helping parents. They are also monitoring cases of more serious child protection concerns including anxiety and abuse. They confirmed that so far there have been no cases of confirmed sexual violence against children following the earthquake.

As of December, UNICEF Albania claims that they have only received US 150,000 from USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. In their report, they state that they need an additional $850,000 “to provide and sustain a response to address the critical needs of children and their families”. Furthermore, they state that they need an additional $2 million for “the early stages of recovery”. Without flexible funding, UNICEF states that “it would be difficult to address major humanitarian needs of vulnerable children.”