The Greatest Need

Whether facing disasters, conflict or disease – you’ll be giving the most vulnerable children around the world the chance to survive.


About this appeal

EMERGENCY: Right now, India is grappling with a devastating second wave of Covid-19 cases and deaths. UNICEF is providing life-saving oxygen and rapid testing to those in need - but we need more help.

Donate now to ensure emergency supplies are on hand for children and families when dissaster strikes.

What is UNICEF NZ's Greatest Need Appeal?

When disaster strikes, UNICEF is there to save and protect children – no matter the circumstance. And right now, as the world battles with the COVID-19 pandemic, our life-saving work for children has never been more critical.

Donations to UNICEF NZ's Greatest Need Appeal ensure that UNICEF can work around the clock to deliver essential supplies to children and families who need it most at any given time.

Covid-19 has put a huge strain on our resources and in some cases demand has risen to 100-times pre-outbreak levels. Meanwhile, millions of children continue to be uprooted, affected by wars, struggle to find food and die from preventable causes.

The need for your support has never been greater, but together we can save lives.

Please donate now and help save and protect the world’s most vulnerable children.


How will you help

Donations to our Greatest Need Appeal are crucial to save and protect the world's most vulnerable children.

Caring supporters like you ensure we can deliver life-saving aid where children need us, when they need us most.

 Indonesia | UN0245867
Indonesia | UN0245867

UNICEF is helping children like Ence (6) recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Your donation could help protect children and families from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, provide life-saving emergency supplies to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, vaccinate kids in the Pacific Islands, and much much more.

Update (10)

Appeal updates

A devastating double emergency: Cyclone Amphan amid the Covid-19 pandemic

Published on Thu May 21 2020

Cyclone Amphan made landfall along the eastern India and Bangladesh coastline on 20th May, bringing with it strong winds and lashing rain that uprooted trees and toppled dwellings in both countries.

The region, with 58 million people in the two bordering countries, has some of the most vulnerable communities in South Asia - poor fishing communities in the Sunderbans and over a million Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar.

Bangladesh evacuated 2.4 million people to shelters, while another 650,000 people were moved to safety in the eastern Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal, an operation carried out amid surging Covid-19 infections.

Now Cyclone Amphan has weakened prevention measures and made some, such as self-isolation and social distancing near impossible, the threat of Covid-19 has only grown more severe.

UNICEF is on the ground delivering life-saving aid – especially in Cox’s Bazar where some of the most vulnerable refugee families are struggling to survive. Please donate now and help save and protect children.

Protecting children in refugee camps from coronavirus (COVID-19)

Published on Mon Mar 30 2020

Strong hygiene practices are the best defence against the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). However in refugee camps, such as the Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, this poses a formidable challenge.

The risk for any infectious disease transmission is continuously high in the densely populated camps, which are home to 850,000 Rohingya refugees, over half of whom are children.

Alongside vaccines for deadly diseases like polio, measles and cholera, UNICEF is ensuring children understand the importance of handwashing and have access to soap and clean water.

As March 2020, over 216,000 children in the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar have learned to practice handwashing every day, at UNICEF-supported schools.

Please make a donation now to UNCIEF and help protect the world's most vulnerable children.

UNICEF continues to ship vital supplies to affected countries, amid soaring number of COVID-19 cases

Published on Fri Mar 27 2020

Despite extreme market conditions, including aggressive buying and emerging export restrictions, UNICEF has secured orders from April until June for key products that will help respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These include:

  • 26.9 million surgical masks
  • 4.8 million respirators
  • 6 million coveralls
  • 7.1 million surgical gowns
  • 1.5 million goggles
  • 29,000 infrared thermometers

“While the speed and scale of the outbreak is posing countless challenges, we continue employing every effort to ensure that UNICEF supplies reach those in need as quickly as possible,” said Etleva Kadilli, UNICEF’s Director of Supply Division in Copenhagen.

“Protecting healthcare workers remains a top priority. These are the heroes on the frontline who continue tirelessly providing care and support to children and families affected in this unprecedented global crisis."

Since the start of the outbreak, UNICEF has shipped more than 4.27 million gloves, 573,300 surgical masks, 98,931 N95 respirators, 156,557 gowns and 12,750 goggles in support of countries as they respond to the pandemic.

Despite Europe being one of the regions hardest hit by COVID-19, UNICEF’s Supply Division in Copenhagen, the largest humanitarian warehouse in the world, remains fully operational: the warehouse operates with shifts 7 days a week and continues to produce kits including supplies for health, water, hygiene and sanitation, early childhood development and education.

Teams across the division are working hard to increase access to COVID-19 supplies while continuing to support other ongoing child survival programmes and respond to emergencies including in Yemen, Syria and DRC.

The need for your support has never been greater. Please donate now and help us continue to be there for children around the world.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Explained:

Published on Thu Mar 19 2020

What is the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold.

What are the symptoms of novel coronavirus?

Symptoms can include fever (38°C), cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or severe breathing difficulties. However, these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have coronavirus (COVID-19), as they are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

What should I do if a family member displays symptoms?

Act on advice of the government. If you have symptoms and have recently been to a country or area of concern, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19, please telephone Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor immediately.

How is the novel coronavirus spread?

The virus is transmitted through direct contact, respiratory droplets like coughing and sneezing, and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. It is not yet known how long the virus survives on surfaces, but simple disinfectants can kill it.

Should I wear a medical mask?

The use of a medical mask is advised if you have respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing) to protect others. If you don’t have any symptoms, then there is no need to wear a mask.

If masks are worn, they must be used and disposed of properly to ensure their effectiveness and to avoid any increased risk of transmitting the virus.

The use of a mask alone is not enough to stop infections and must be combined with frequent hand washing, covering sneezes and coughs, and avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms (coughing, sneezing, fever).

UNICEF coronavirus supplies arrive in Iran

Published on Tue Mar 10 2020

UPDATE: UNICEF’s second batch of supplies to fight the coronavirus outbreak arrived in Iran, on 5th March, to protect the country's health care providers who are working bravely and wholeheartedly to help children and families infected with coronavirus.

Weighing 4.5 tons, the personal protective supplies contain two types of high-filtered respiratory surgical masks, surgical gowns as well as surgical goggles. They were sent from UNICEF’s global supply hub in Copenhagen to Tehran at the request of the Ministry of Health to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.

The first batch of supplies arrived earlier in the week, containing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for doctors and nurses being exposed to the outbreak.

UNICEF is in close contact with the Government of Iran, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), and other UN agencies in Iran, to monitor developments and urgent needs as the situation unfolds.

Schools, kindergartens and higher educational institutes are closed by the Government to contain the outbreak.

“This coronavirus is spreading at a breakneck speed and it is important to put all the necessary resources into halting it. We may not know enough about the virus’s impact on children or how many may be affected – but we do know that close monitoring and prevention are key. Time is not on our side.” said UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, on the global outbreak of the coronavirus.

Coronaviruses are transmitted through direct contact, respiratory droplets like coughing and sneezing, and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

To avoid the risk of transmission, people should:

  • Wash their hands frequently using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • Cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough
  • Seek medical care early if they have fever, cough and difficulty breathing
  • Share previous travel history with their health care provider
  • Avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals in local markets

Protecting children must be the top priority in Europe’s latest refugee surge

Published on Thu Mar 05 2020

Ms. Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe:

“The death of a child, among nearly 50 people aboard a boat which capsized off the Greek island of Lesvos today, is a tragic reminder about the harrowing journeys being undertaken by the youngest refugees and migrants seeking safety in Europe.

“Whether at sea, at border crossings or in the conflict-affected areas the children are fleeing, children are the first casualties. In recent weeks, escalating violence in Idlib province has displaced more than 600,000 children. Of the 13,000 now concentrated near Edirne and along the Turkish-Greek border, 40 per cent are families with children. States must do everything possible to prevent further harm to the most innocent.

UNICEF is on the ground, responding to the immediate needs of children, assisting with shelter, water, hygiene items, blankets and more.

“We are also working to meet the urgent needs of those stranded along Turkey’s border with Bulgaria, where incidents of violent pushbacks have been reported.

“Children and families uprooted from their homes look to political leaders for joint solutions, including financial and political support for states that welcome those seeking assistance, and serious pledges to resettle the most vulnerable among them.

“Now is the time for all countries concerned to uphold their international commitments to protect children from violence and harm, no matter who they are or where they come from. Now is the time to ensure safe access to asylum and international protection, rather than actions and statements inciting xenophobia or fueling discrimination.

“Now is also the time for European solidarity with Greece and Turkey – which have shown the world their generosity in welcoming and accommodating large numbers of children and families. No one state can manage refugee and migration flows alone. All states benefit from working together to protect children and families.

“Already vulnerable, children on the move need urgent protection. No child should ever have to risk her life or his future in the wish to be safe.”

Please donate now and help protect the world's most vulnerable children.

“This is a race against time” - UNICEF's response to the Covid-19 outbreak

Published on Tue Feb 18 2020

UNICEF is scaling up its response to the Covid-19 virus outbreak and support global efforts to contain it.

“This is a race against time,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore. “The immediate focus is to reduce human to human transmission but also to help children in areas where their access to essential services has been disrupted.”

Donations will support UNICEF’s work to reduce the transmission of the virus and tackling misinformation so that children, pregnant women and their families know how to prevent Covid-19 spread and where to seek assistance.

To mitigate the broader impact of the outbreak, UNICEF also plans to support distance learning opportunities for children who can’t access school and to provide mental health and psychosocial support to children and families affected.

“We are especially concerned by the possible secondary impact of the outbreak” Fore said. “It is critical that children’s access to learning, health, nutrition and protection services is not affected.”

UNICEF’s current response focuses on supporting the Government of China and the broader East Asia and Pacific region countries where most of the cases have so far been reported.

Since 29 January, UNICEF has flown in 13 tons of supplies, including protective suits, masks, goggles and gloves for use by health workers. Additional shipments are in the pipeline and UNICEF is pre-positioning supplies in key locations.

Given the unpredictable nature of the virus and the continued spread, UNICEF is also liaising with Governments, World Health Organization counterparts and other partners in developing contingency plans in other regions, especially in countries with weaker health systems and limited capacity to deal with major disease outbreaks.

“We are hoping for the best, but must prepare for the worst,” Fore said.

Donate now to UNIEF New Zealand and help protect children all around the world.

Nine Afghan children killed or maimed daily in one of world’s most lethal warzones

Published on Tue Dec 17 2019

The 40-year-old conflict in Afghanistan is having a devastating impact on children.

In the first nine months of 2019, an average of nine children were killed or maimed every day.

“Even by Afghanistan’s grim standards, 2019 has been particularly deadly for children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

“Children, their families and communities suffer the horrific consequences of conflict each and every day. Those same children are desperate to grow up, go to school, learn skills, and build a future for themselves. We can, and must, do so much more to reinforce their extraordinary courage and resilience.”

Between 2009 and 2018, nearly 6,500 children were killed and almost 15,000 others injured. Meanwhile, children’s lives are also being blighted by the combined effects of natural disasters, poverty, and under-development.

Additional stats include:

  1. 3.8 million children need humanitarian assistance
  2. 1 in 3 girls marries before her 18th birthday
  3. 3.7 million school-aged children who are out of school
  4. 600,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished
  5. 30% of children are engaged in child labour
  6. Only 64% of the population have water that is protected from contamination

UNICEF is working with the authorities and local communities to address a range of negative social norms. Girls are at risk from honour killings, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

UNICEF is also helping to provide treatment to 277,000 severely malnourished children, while attempting to substantially scale up the operation to support a further 300,000 children in urgent need.

UNICEF is increasingly using sustainable gravity-fed and solar-powered water systems to help some of the 2.8 million Afghans affected by a severe drought.

Your support is critical to ensure UNICEF projects can continue to save and protect children in need. Please donate now and help some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

The child-friendly centres helping to get kids back on their feet

Published on Mon Dec 09 2019

Isra Haroon Suleiman Musa, 7 years old, smiles in the Borgo Internally Displaced People Camp, in the town of Tawila, 60 km West of El-Fasher, Sudan.

She has four siblings, three out of them are younger than her, 2, 3 and 5 years old respectively. Her older sibling is her 10 years old sister Ayesha. She is the main care provider for her younger siblings.

Isra was three years old when she fled violent attacks on her village with her family in Basa, Jabel Mara. She remembers gun shots, fires, screams and people and donkeys fleeing.

She and her siblings attend the UNICEF supported Atfal El Gad Child Friendly Centre CFS) in Tawila, where staff and volunteers support displaced children with emotional, psychological and educational needs.

UNICEF supports child-friendly centres like this all over the world, so that every child – no matter their circumstances, has the opportunity of a brighter future.

Donate now and help vulnerable children survive and thrive.

As impact of climate change worsens, Caribbean islands see six-fold increase in estimated number of children displaced by storms

Published on Mon Dec 09 2019

The estimated number of children displaced by storms and flooding in the Caribbean islands saw a six-fold increase in the past five years, a new UNICEF report said today.

“This report is a stark reminder that the climate crisis is a child rights crisis,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Children in storm and flood-prone nations around the world are among the most vulnerable to having their lives and rights upended. They are already feeling the impacts of climate change, so governments and the international community should act now to mitigate its most devastating consequences.”

Our report warns that without urgent action to mitigate the effects of climate change, the increasing proportion of severe storms would likely result in similarly high levels of forced displacement in the coming decades.

Before, during and after disasters strike, UNICEF works throughout the Caribbean to protect and support children, while establishing disaster-risk reduction strategies that limit forced displacement and shorten rehabilitation time – so families can return home quicker.

Your support will give children

  • Life-saving medicines

  • Safe Spaces & Shelter

  • Nutritious food

  • Clean water

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  • News & Updates

  • Annual Tax Receipt

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