UN launches record $51.5B emergency funding appeal

A record request of 51.5 billion dollars to help 230 million people who are “on the brink of the abyss” in 69 countries, was launched this Thursday, by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“The needs are outrageously high; They are increasing because we have been hit by the war in Ukraine, by the covid and by the climate, and I am afraid that 2023 is going to be an acceleration of all these trends”, said the UN Under-Secretary-General and OCHA coordinator, Martin Griffiths.

Emergency funding appeal

For this reason, “we hope that 2023 will be a year of solidarity, just as 2022 has been a year of suffering,” Griffiths added when presenting, in this Swiss city, the Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) for next year.

The 25% increase from the amount requested last year is due to the fact that there are 65 million more people who need urgent humanitarian aid or “a lifeline on the brink” than they are, according to Griffiths.

In 2023, a record 339 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection, a significant increase from the 274 million people in that situation at the beginning of 2022.

He explained that numerous countries have been affected by deadly droughts and floods, from Pakistan to the eastern Horn of Africa and, furthermore, the war in Ukraine “has turned a part of Europe into a battlefield.”

He claimed that more than 100 million people are now displaced around the world “and all this on top of the devastation the pandemic has left among the world’s poorest”.

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Risk of starvation

“The needs are outrageously high; They are increasing because we have been hit by the war in Ukraine, by the covid and by the weather, and I fear that 2023 is going to be an acceleration of all these trends”: Martin Griffiths.

The GHO paints a stark picture of what lies ahead, starting with at least 222 million people in 53 countries facing food insecurity and 45 million in 37 countries at risk of starvation.

Public health is under pressure due to covid, monkeypox, vector-borne diseases, and ebola and cholera outbreaks.

Climate change is increasing risks and vulnerability. By the end of the century, extreme heat could claim as many lives as cancer.

It will take four generations, 132 years, to achieve global gender parity, and 388 million women and girls live in extreme poverty.

Populations need humanitarian assistance

Eastern and southern Africa have the largest number of people in need, 76.8 million, with 28.6 million of them in Ethiopia alone. In Asia, the greatest requirements refer to Afghanistan and Yemen, countries where more than two thirds of their populations need humanitarian assistance.

In Haiti, to help three million of the 5.2 million people who need assistance, Ocha is requesting 715 million dollars.

Aid is also requested for other countries in the region: Colombia (280 million dollars), El Salvador (98 million), Guatemala (125 million), Honduras (280 million), and Venezuela (795 million dollars, as well as 1700 million dollars for programs in countries that host Venezuelan migrants and refugees).

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In an aside on Ukraine, the UN official explained that 13.6 million people have received assistance, and a total of $5.7 billion has been requested for the country and the region as a whole for the coming year.

“As we head into (boreal) winter this doesn’t get any easier,” Griffiths said.

Specific types of aid

The response plans in the GHO detail how agencies working together on specific types of aid, including shelter, food, maternal health, child nutrition, and protection, can save and support the lives of a total of 230 million people worldwide.

Griffiths considers it “very difficult” to get the full amount requested from donors, both state and private, whose generosity has not been able to keep up with the growing demands.

In fact, the 2022 Global Humanitarian Appeal, led by the UN, is only 47% funded, which is a sharp decline from previous years, when funding used to reach between 60% and 65%, he explained.

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