With more than 11,000 staff worldwide; 350 warehouses globally; strategic transit hubs in Copenhagen, Dubai, Panama and Shanghai; and a 24/7 emergency operations center in New York, UNICEF stands ready to provide both immediate and long-term necessities-food, water, shelter, protection and physical as well as mental health care-whenever a crisis arises. UNICEF also works to reunite children with family and provides care for those who are orphaned.
Millions of children around the world are threatened by an unprecedented number of simultaneous crises as the international community bears witness to a surge in violent conflict. In the Central African Republic, children have not attended school for at least two years due to fighting. In South Sudan, conflict has exacerbated a nutrition crisis and famine is looming. Polio has returned to Syria, nearly two decades after being eradicated.
UNICEF is committed to stay and deliver for children in crisis, but we urgently need your support. In this time of great need, we have created a special fund for the world's most severe emergencies. Donations to this fund support the most urgent need of children in the world at this time. As each crisis is very different, we will continue to update you with reports of the current crisis, needs and UNICEF's response.
Investments in strengthening UNICEF's Emergency Program Fund, for use by country offices in the first days of a response, have proven critical to UNICEF's ability to rapidly respond. Over the past few years, UNICEF has significantly increased its investment in strengthening its capacity to rapidly deploy staff with specialized skills in emergency coordination, programming and operations. This includes the expansion of the Emergency Response Team to fill existing gaps in programmatic areas.