The UN Children's Fund launched a record $3.1bn appeal on Thursday 29 January to enable it to help children caught up in a "new generation" of conflicts and disasters round the world, $1bn more than it sought in 2014.

A series of more complex and destructive crises, natural disasters and emergencies such as the Ebola epidemic, are putting some 62 million children in extraordinary danger of violence, hunger, disease and abuse, Unicef said.

"It is the largest request for funding at 3.1 billion that Unicef has ever had for humanitarian response. We aim to reach 62 million children in 71 countries and make sure that we have this commitment to reach children in humanitarian crises no matter where they live," Afshan Khan, Unicef director of emergency programmes, told a news conference in Geneva.

More than one in 10 children now live in countries or regions affected by armed conflict, Unicef said in the report Humanitarian Action for Children that accompanied the appeal.

The biggest amount in the appeal, $903m (£601m), was for Syria and the region around it, followed by $500m for West African countries affected by the Ebola epidemic.

More than 5.6 million children need support in Syria, as do 1.7 million who have fled the five-year-old conflict for neighbouring countries, Unicef said.

"Children have been witnessing violence and death on a daily basis, and for the last four years, and now entering the fifth, they've been missing out on the very basics of life. An entire generation of children there is at risk of understanding violence as a normal way of life and having their lives shattered and their futures stolen while this conflict continues to raise rage on," Khan said.

Money raised for Ebola-affected areas will be used to isolate and treat new cases and prevent new outbreaks, Unicef said.

Some 10,000 children have lost one or both parents to the Ebola virus, while five million children have been deprived of education, said Dr. Peter Salama, global Ebola emergency coordinator for Unicef.

"Around a quarter of all cases have been in children. We have some evidence that suggest that children have an even higher mortality rate due to Ebola than adults do, partly because they suffer more easily from dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhoea. We also know that around, in fact more than 10,000 children have lost one or both of their parents due to Ebola. So there is a burgeoning crisis of orphaning due to this disease as well," he said.

Unicef also appealed for $32m for Ukraine, where it said 5.2 million people, one third of them children, were living in conflict zones and 600,000 were displaced.

As well as drawing attention to the growing number of emergencies, the Unicef report highlighted the increasing interdependence of humanitarian and development work.

Unicef said the funds raised would also help strengthen national preparedness systems against future disasters.

Khan emphasised the importance of investing in educating children and equipping them with vocational skills.

"We cannot underestimate the importance of investing on adolescence now, because this is a generation that has missed three, four years of schooling, and unless they are given some vocational skill, the only opportunities - and this particularly for young boys - will be to take up arms. So, investment in areas where we can operate, and particularly where Syrians themselves may be able to operate and train children in vocational skills is crucial," she said.

The appeal, which covers 71 countries and a total of 98 million people, includes underfunded and forgotten crises, including Afghanistan, the Palestinian Territories and Niger.