The U.N. children's agency is launching a $2.8 billion appeal to help children in the midst of humanitarian emergencies across the world this year.

UNICEF director of emergency programs in Geneva Sikander Khan says about one-quarter of that appeal aims to go for education, which the agency considers a "life-saving measure for children" at a time when war has shuttered many schools.

The appeal is part of a broader funding drive by the U.N. humanitarian agency that targets 76 million people in 63 countries.

The largest single chunk of UNICEF's appeal — $1.16 billion — is targeted for Syria and countries including Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan that have taken in millions of refugees from Syria's war. The appeal hopes to help some 5 million Syrian children inside and outside Syria.