Three years of conflict in South Sudan have taken a massive toll on the lives of millions of children and women across the country. As a result of the violence that erupted in December, 2013, nearly 3.1 million South Sudanese have been forced to flee their homes, with children representing about half of all those who are displaced.
An estimated 5.5 million people, including two million children, have been cut off from running water for over three weeks in Damascus and its surroundings, the longest cut Syria's capital has seen. Intense fighting damaged the water infrastructure for the two main drinking water sources for Damascus.
The animations in the film depict all too common forms of violence that boys and girls endure in spaces where they should be safe -- their homes, schools, online and in their communities. Every five minutes, somewhere in the world, a child dies from violence. Millions more are in danger of physical, emotional and sexual abuse that could destroy their childhoods forever.
Haiti is a structurally vulnerable country where a crisis is never far away, often sweeping in with rain, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and cholera to wreak havoc on the nation's priorities. When I arrived in Haiti in 2007, the 2004 disaster in Gonaives was still fresh in everyone's minds. A year later, the same city was once again flooded. When I came back in 2012, the earthquake had left thousands of people in Port au Prince homeless and cholera was rapidly spreading.
In Nigeria last week, an outbreak of polio prompted UNICEF to launch a massive immunization campaign to reach 41 million children. The ongoing conflict there due to the Boko Haram insurgency has already displaced 2.6 million people and left more than four million people in north-east Nigeria facing a humanitarian crisis. Four hundred thousand children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year.
With every hour that passes more information about destruction and death is coming in. Every report is directly linked to the life and future of children in Haiti. Over the course of yesterday, following the eventually intensifying stream of updates from partners on the ground I felt darkness creeping up on me -- until I remembered that we are moving forward towards relief for children on the ground.
Inequality limits the potential of children, increasing their risk of poor health, lower earnings and lower skills in adulthood. Affluent nations with wide inequality gaps tend to have fewer children in great health and well-being, so it's not only the most disadvantaged children who suffer the consequences of inequality.
Few things matter more to a community, to a country, to a global society, than a child's health. Healthy children grow up to become healthy adults -- people who can create and contribute to the public good. Indeed, improving the health of a child is one of the greatest investments any society can make towards bettering its future.