In an emergency situation, UNICEF works to guarantee the rights of children and adolescents, however serious the situation. ©UNICEF/Nicaragua-2007/O. Moraga

"Children in emergency and disaster situations have the same needs and rights as children in stable conditions and environments.” Core Commitments for Children in Emergencies, UNICEF-2004.

An emergency situation caused by natural phenomena or by human beings has consequences such as loss of live; damage to the physical infrastructure and the environment; emotional disturbance and family separation; and lack of access to basic services such as education, health, safe water and food. This situation affects the population’s wellbeing, everyday life and dignity, particularly in the case of vulnerable groups such as children, adolescents and women.

In an emergency situation, UNICEF works to guarantee the rights of children and adolescents, however serious the situation. When health, nutrition, the supply of water, environmental sanitation, protection work and the fight against HIV/AIDS are at stake, the basic institutional commitments to children and adolescents are a humanitarian imperative.

In coordination with government bodies and local partners, during an emergency situation UNICEF prioritizes actions aimed at creating alternative arenas for the continuity of education; health; nutrition; access to safe water; sanitation installations, particularly for the disposal of excreta; and personal hygiene. This involves applying standards that guarantee the privacy, dignity and security of children, adolescents and women, as well as their protection from any kind of abuse, violence and exploitation, and their non-separation from their families.

It also fosters access to information, through communication materials adapted to the local context to promote hygiene, monitoring the nutritional status of children under the age of five, and the appropriate response for people with HIV.

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