World news

UN launches record appeal for humanitarian aid

The UN on Thursday (December 1st) launched a record appeal for funds for 2023 in the face of soaring humanitarian needs, driven by the conflict in Ukraine and the effects of climate change, such as the risk of famine in Africa.

United Nations humanitarian agencies will need 51.5 billion dollars (49.6 billion euros) next year, a 25% increase in needs. These funds will allow them to finance their programs to help 230 million of the most vulnerable people in 68 countries.

220 million food insecure people

“Next year will therefore be the largest humanitarian program” ever launched globally, the head of the UN humanitarian agency Martin Griffiths told reporters. However, the UN does not come to the aid of all those in need. A total of 339 million people worldwide are expected to need emergency assistance next year, up from 274 million in 2022. “It’s a huge and depressing number,” said Martin Griffiths.

The Briton also pointed out that humanitarian needs, which have experienced a ” peak “ following the Covid-19 pandemic, have unfortunately not decreased since. “Droughts and deadly floods are wreaking havoc (…) from Pakistan to the Horn of Africa. The war in Ukraine has turned part of Europe into a battlefield. More than 100 million people are displaced worldwide. And all this on top of the devastation the pandemic has wreaked on the world’s poorest,” he pointed out, who expects 2023 to be in the same vein as 2022.

The appeal for funds launched by the UN indeed paints a bleak picture of the world state. At least 222 million people in 53 countries will face acute food insecurity by the end of 2022. Forty-five million people in 37 countries are at risk of starvation.

2023, year of solidarity?

“Five countries are already experiencing what we call near-famine conditions, in which we can say (…) that people are dying because of displacement, food insecurity, lack of food,” explained Martin Griffiths. These are Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Haiti, Somalia and South Sudan, a spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke, told AFP. .

Public health is also under pressure around the world, due in particular to the persistence of Covid-19 and mpox (the name given this week by the World Health Organization to monkeypox), the reappearance of Ebola in Uganda and the presence of multiple cholera epidemics around the world, particularly in Syria and Haiti.

All this against a backdrop of climate change, which only increases risks and vulnerabilities, especially in poor countries. By the end of the century, extreme heat could kill as many people as cancer, according to the UN.

Funding gap

In 2022, the appeal was 47% funded, while previously“before the last two to three years, we would have obtained 60 to 65% funding globally”, explained Martin Griffiths. The generosity of donors does not indeed make it possible to compensate for the rapidly growing needs, he explained, saying he hopes that “2023 will be the year of solidarity, after a year of suffering in 2022”.

According to the UN, the funding gap has never been greater, forcing humanitarian organizations to make the sad choice of targeting populations that will benefit from aid.

The country for which the United Nations will need the most funds next year is Afghanistan ($4.63 billion), followed by Syria, Yemen and Ukraine, ahead of Ethiopia in particular.


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