Crises: Record humanitarian needs for 2023

Wars, crises and climate change will ensure a record need for humanitarian aid in the coming year.

Crises: Record humanitarian needs for 2023

Wars, crises and climate change will ensure a record need for humanitarian aid in the coming year. According to an initial estimate, the United Nations and its partners will need 51.5 billion dollars (about 49.6 billion euros) next year to alleviate the greatest need, as reported by the UN Emergency Relief Office (OCHA) in Geneva.

That's 25 percent more than what the office had estimated at the end of 2021 as needs for this year. The bureau sees 339 million people in 68 countries in need, 65 million more than a year ago.

"The humanitarian needs are shocking," said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths. This is because the extreme events of this year also had an impact in 2023. Among other things, he mentioned the devastating droughts and floods from Pakistan to the Horn of Africa and the Russian war against Ukraine with the consequences, including skyrocketing prices all over the world.

Germany among the largest donors

Griffiths praised Germany for expanding humanitarian aid despite economic concerns and the energy crisis. According to OCHA data, Germany was the largest donor behind the US and ahead of the European Commission. Griffiths advocated a profit tax on the profits of oil and gas companies in order to use the money to cushion the effects of climate change in poorer countries.

OCHA expects at least 222 million people in 53 countries to be food deprived by the end of this year. 45 million are likely to starve to death. The financial need is particularly great in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Ethiopia. In terms of numbers, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Yemen have the largest number of people in need of aid, more than 25 million in each country. The need for aid is also great in Somalia: 2.27 billion dollars are needed for around 7.8 million people in need.

cash most effectively

Giving cash to those in need is proving to be the most effective measure, Griffiths said. This is easier to distribute than bringing relief goods by truck, it gives recipients the opportunity to set priorities, and the money stays in the local economy. There have never been any major problems or fraud.

Griffiths appealed to governments to allocate more money to development aid alongside emergency humanitarian aid. Helping people to improve their livelihoods and making provisions for possible disasters is always cheaper than providing emergency aid later in a catastrophic situation.

For 2022, OCHA initially estimated the need at $41 billion. The number rose to almost 52 billion during the year. By the end of November, almost 47 percent of them had come together.

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