GENEVA (AN) — An estimated 274 million people will need emergency humanitarian aid in 2022, up 17% from this year due to war, conflicts, hunger, climate change and the pandemic, the United Nations said on Thursday.
Donors are being asked to provide US$41 billion to help 183 million people who are considered the most in need. They live in 30 countries, mostly in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, according to a new assessment of needs released by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA.
Most of the nations with the neediest people, including places like Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Myanmar where instability has worsened over the past year, have longstanding, protracted conflicts made worse by climate change and the pandemic, OCHA officials said.
"At the beginning of this year, 2021, already 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and we estimate that number will rise to 274 million in 2022," said OCHA's chief Martin Griffiths.
"This marks a doubling of requirements over the last four years. And these numbers will inevitably rise further as the year progresses," he said. "To give us all some sense of the scale of this challenge: if everyone requiring emergency aid lived in one country, it would be the fourth-largest country in the world. That’s what we’re facing, and more importantly, that’s what they are facing."
Multiple agencies appealing for aid
Griffiths cited factors such as "conflict, political instability, the growing climate crisis, and the impact of the pandemic" as the main reasons for the increased humanitarian needs. This year, OCHA's plan elicited enough funding from donors to help 70%, or 107 million of the 153 million people.
"The funding we did receive and the generosity that is behind it enabled us to provide emergency health services to tens of millions of people. In Yemen alone, we reached 10 million people with outpatient care with the efforts of WHO and other agencies," he said.
The 2021 humanitarian plan had projected an astonishing 40% increase from the year earlier due to the pandemic, conflicts and climate change. As a result, OCHA appealed for US$35 billion in global aid.
OCHA's appeal reflects the needs of multiple agencies.
The Food and Agricultural Organization, for example, said 45 million people are at risk of famine around the world. The World Food Program appealed for US$2.6 billion to help 23 million people in Afghanistan that need urgent food assistance, including 3.2 million children that face severe hunger and life-threatening consequences of malnutrition in the aftermath of Taliban fighters overrunning the Afghan government as the U.S. military pulled out.