Current Emergencies

Child Refugee Crisis

According to UNHCR, 4,718,230 people have now fled Syria. Children now make up 51.9% of the refugee population, meaning there are an estimated 2,448,761 refugee children in the region.

As of February, 2016, Save the Children has reached 3,840,534 people in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Syria – approximately 2,438,462 children.

Children on the move, especially unaccompanied children, are at high risk of abuse, exploitation, violence and trafficking as they journey from points of origin to Western European countries. Children find themselves affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, malnutrition, dehydration and the lack of access to child-friend asylum procedures and information. Children are in desperate need for psycho-social support, protection, safe spaces, shelter, food, clothes and water.

Save the Children runs programs across five regions, protecting children as they flee alone or with their family, and those children who are trafficked or exploited. We work along the whole route that refugees take: we work in the countries they are fleeing – like Syria, where brutal war has ripped apart the lives of millions. We work in countries that are known as ‘transit countries’, like Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Greece and Italy – ensuring that children are protected whenever possible. We also work in countries like Germany, to ensure that these children understand their rights and have access to care and support.

Our work ranges from carrying out vaccination campaigns and large-scale infant and young child feeding programs, to supporting healthcare facilities that treat approximately 3,500 patients weekly. We run youth-friendly spaces and alternative learning programs, providing informal education opportunities for children and youth living in refugee camps. We distribute winter clothes and blankets, and deliver essential aid items, and offer vocational training and agriculture projects. In Syria we operate 16 Child-Friendly Spaces, including mobile CFS, to provide activities in camps and in the aftermath of mass population movements. A CFS provides recreational activities as well as basic education, alongside being a space for children to socialize, play, and safely express their emotions.

There is still much work to be done. To support Save the Children’s work on the child refugee crisis, please click here.

Aleppo child


In December, 2016, the battle for control of the Syrian city of Aleppo dramatically increased in its severity. The result was catastrophic for the children and families trapped in the violence and conflict. Many thousands are believed to have been killed, and those who survived face severe shortages of food, water, and medical care. No international aid has been able to reach the city for months prior to this escalation in fighting.

After global media scrutiny and public outcry, a tense ceasefire was arranged in order to allow children and their families to flee the violence of Aleppo. By December 20, roughly 26,000 people had successfully left Aleppo, but thousands more remain in the city, and for those who fled, there is no safe place left in Syria and this relocation is simply a matter of finding a new home within a war zone.

Children and their families are arriving at reception centres in Aleppo countryside or Idlib and then moving on to houses or, more often, camps. Arriving with little but the clothes on their backs, they now must find room to sleep in areas that were already overwhelmed with displaced persons. They’re sleeping in unheated rooms or tents and as winter forges on, the temperatures plummet to below zero at night.

Save the Children, through its partner organizations, is on the ground directly helping the children and families impacted by this crisis. We’re providing food, medical care, and warm blankets. We’re distributing supplies for newborns and young children, and ensuring our existing schools have extra school supplies, and our medical clinics increase their capacity to assist. And this is just the beginning. The situation is chaotic, and the needs are huge and urgent. Thousands of people have fled Aleppo, but are now hungry, cold, and terrified. They need food, a place to stay, medical care, and in the longer term, the ability to return to school and recover from their experiences.

To support Save the Children’s vital work in Aleppo, please click here.

Mosul, Iraq

Save the Children is on the ground in Iraq now, ready to respond to the areas of greatest need resulting from the Mosul offensive. Our current emergency response work in the country has been focused on supporting the Syrian refugee influx into Iraq. There are approximately 250,000 Syrian refugees living across Iraq, alongside 3.4 million internally displaced Iraqis. This already complex operating environment is now bracing for the potential impact of the Mosul crisis.

Estimates tell us that as many as one million people will be displaced by the crisis in Iraq, and there is a high probability that conditions in the camps they flee to will be overcrowded, while some internally displaced people may be trapped in open ground. Approximately 50% of the affected population are children, meaning up to 500,000 children will be displaced.

To support Save the Children’s work on the ground in Iraq, please click here.

baby in rehabilitation centre

Child Hunger Crisis

Today, millions of children are at risk of hunger across Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Drought and brutal conflict have left 1.4 million children at imminent risk of starvation. Across the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia) alone, up to 15 million people urgently need help and almost 500,000 children are severely malnourished.

In 2011, the world watched as 260,000 people died from famine in Somalia. Together, we promised we would never let this happen again. Today, we’re facing a tragedy significantly larger than 2011.

Save the Children’s teams are working across the six affected countries to tackle the worst effects of the droughts and food shortages, distributing cash transfers and food vouchers, transporting water to drought-hit communities, running mobile health clinics and providing nutrition support, providing child protection and helping children stay in school, and supporting families who have had to leave their homes. But there is much work to be done, and every day more people need our help.

To support Save the Children’s work to assist children and families impacted by the child hunger crisis, please click here.


Since March, 2015, conflict in Yemen has spread to 21 of Yemen’s 22 governorates prompting a large-scale protection crisis and aggravating an already dire humanitarian crisis brought on by years of poverty, poor governance, conflict and ongoing instability. 21.2 million people – including 9.9 million children – are in need of humanitarian assistance. 2.5 million people – including 1 million children – have been internally displaced, and lack of access to a balanced diet means malnutrition rates are skyrocketing.

Over 80% of the population do not have access to clean water or sanitation facilities, while 1.8 million children have been forced from school due to the conflict, adding to 1.6 million children who were already out of school.

Save the Children is on the ground in Yemen, working across nine different governorates in the north, centre and south of the country. Since April 2015 we have reached over 500,000 people including almost 300,000 children with Child Protection, Health, WASH, Nutrition, Education, Child Right’s Governance and Food Security and Livelihoods programming.

To support Save the Children’s work on Yemen and other emergencies impacting children, please donate to our Children’s Emergency Fund.