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UN Launches Record $51.5 Bn Emergency Funding Appeal

UN Launches Record $51.5 Bn Emergency Funding Appeal

Thursday, 1 December, 2022 - 06:15
A woman carries an infant as she queues in line for food, at the Tsehaye primary school, which was turned into a temporary shelter for people displaced by conflict, in the town of Shire, Tigray region, Ethiopia, March 15, 2021. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

The UN and partners have appealed for record funds for aid next year, as the Ukraine war and other conflicts and climate emergencies push more people into crisis, and some towards famine.


The United Nations' annual Global Humanitarian Overview estimated that 339 million people in 68 countries will need some form of emergency assistance next year.


That represents more than 4% of the people on the planet or about the population of the United States.


"It's a phenomenal number and it's a depressing number," UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told reporters in Geneva, adding that it meant "next year is going to be the biggest humanitarian program" the world has ever seen.


If all the people in need of emergency assistance were in one country, it would be the third-largest nation in the world, after China and India, he said.


And the new estimate means that one in 23 people will need help in 2023, compared to one in 95 back in 2015.


As the extreme events seen in 2022 spill into 2023, Griffiths described the humanitarian needs as "shockingly high".


"Lethal droughts and floods are wreaking havoc in communities from Pakistan to the Horn of Africa," he said, also pointing to the war in Ukraine, which "has turned a part of Europe into a battlefield."


The annual appeal by UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations said that providing aid to the 230 million most vulnerable people across 68 countries would require a record $51.5 billion.


That was up from the $41 billion requested for 2022, although the sum has been revised up to around $50 billion during the year -- with less than half of that sought-for amount funded.


"For people on the brink, this appeal is a lifeline," Griffiths said.


"Five countries already are experiencing what we call famine-like conditions, in which we can confidently, unhappily, say that people are dying as a result," he said.


Those countries -- Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Haiti, Somalia and South Sudan -- have seen portions of their populations face "catastrophic hunger" this year, but have not yet seen country-wide famines declared.


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