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UN Sees Emergency Aid Needs Exploding Due to Pandemic

UN Sees Emergency Aid Needs Exploding Due to PandemicUN Sees Emergency Aid Needs Exploding Due to Pandemic

The UN said on Tuesday $35 billion would be needed for aid in 2021, as the pandemic leaves tens of millions more people in crisis, and with the risk of multiple famines looming.
The world body's annual Global Humanitarian Overview estimated that 235 million people worldwide will need some form of emergency assistance next year—a staggering 40% increase in the past year, AFP reported.
"The increase arises almost entirely because of Covid-19," United Nations emergency relief coordinator, Mark Lowcock, told reporters.
Next year, one in 33 people worldwide will be in need of aid, the report found, stressing that if all of them lived in one country, it would be the world's fifth largest nation.
The annual appeal by UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations usually presents a depressing picture of soaring needs brought on by conflicts, displacement, natural disasters and climate change.
But now, it warned, the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 1.45 million people worldwide, has disproportionately hit those "already living on a knife's edge".
"The picture we are presenting is the bleakest and darkest perspective on humanitarian need in the period ahead that we have ever set out," Lowcock said.
The money requested in the appeal would be enough to help 160 million of the most vulnerable people across 56 countries, the UN said.

 

 

Alarm Bells 

For the first time since the 1990s, extreme poverty is set to rise, life expectancy will fall and the annual death toll from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria could potentially double.
"Possibly the most alarming thing ... is the threat of the return of famines, potentially in multiple locations," Lowcock said.
With only one true famine so far in the 21st century—in Somalia nearly a decade ago—mass starvation had appeared to have been "assigned to the dustbin of history", he said. But now, he warned, "the red lights are flashing and the alarm bells are ringing".
By the end of 2020, the number of acutely food-insecure people worldwide could swell to as much as 270 million—an 82% increase over the pre-Covid number.
Conditions in Yemen, Burkina Faso, South Sudan and northeastern Nigeria indicated they are already on the brink of famine, while a range of other countries and regions, including Afghanistan and the Sahel, were also "potentially very vulnerable", he said. "If we get through 2021 without major famines, that will be a significant achievement."
Tuesday's appeal shows that war-ravaged Syria and Yemen top the list of the countries most in need of humanitarian assistance.
The UN is seeking close to $6 billion to help millions of Syrians inside and outside the country wracked by a decade of conflict.
And it is asking for nearly $3.5 billion to help nearly 20 million Yemenis caught up in the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Other major crises requiring substantial funds include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and Ethiopia.
Raising the full $35 billion needed at a time of global economic crisis could be a daunting task, as the amount is more than double the $17 billion raised so far this year.
That amount is already a record, but still falls far short of the nearly $29 billion asked for during last year's appeal, even before the pandemic reared its head.
 

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