MS Risk Blog

UN Appeals for Record Amount in Global Aid for 2017

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The United Nations in December appealed for a record US $22.2 billion to provide aid in 2017 to surging number of people that have been affected by conflicts and disasters around the world.

Speaking at a press conference, UN humanitarian aid chief Stephen O’Brien disclosed that it is “the highest amount we have ever requested,” noting that the figure “…is a reflection of a state of human needs in the world not witnessed since the Second World War.” He went on to say that more than 80 percent of the needs come from manmade conflicts “many of which are now protracted and push up demand for relief year after year.”

The global appeal by UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations aims to gather funds to help the 92.8 million most vulnerable of the nearly 129 million people who are expected to require assistance across 33 countries in 2017. The numbers are staggering, particularly when considering that three war-ravaged countries – Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan – alone account for about a third of all those in need. In a report, O’Brien disclosed that “with persistently escalating humanitarian needs, the gap between what has to be done to save and protect more people today and what humanitarians are financed to do and can access is growing wider,” nothing that “climate change, natural disasters are likely to become more frequent, more severe,” which will in turn make matters worse.

The Syrian conflict, which has killed more than 300,000 people since march 2011 and forced more than half the population to flee, is set to absorb the biggest portion of the funds, with the UN disclosing that it wants a full US $3.4 billion to go towards helping those inside Syria, and another US $4.7 billion destined for refugees and their hose communities in the region. Second in line is South Sudan, which has been wracked by a civil war since 2013 and where the UN warned last month “ethnic cleansing” is taking place. The UN is planning to spend a total of US $2.5 billion to help South Sudanese in need, including US $1.2 billion for refugees from the country. The UN has indicated that US $1.9 billion should go towards helping the victims of Yemen’s brutal civil war, which has escalated dramatically in the wake of the intervention of a Saudi-led coalition in March 2015.

Aid needs have been rising steadily for decades and when the UN launched its first global appeal 25 years ago, it estimated that just US $2.7 billion would cover aid needs around the globe in 1992. However in the last few years, the situation has worsened dramatically, with O’Brien stating “humanitarian needs continue to rise and humanitarian efforts are hampered by reduced access, growing disrespect for human rights and flagrant violations of international humanitarian law.”

The new report highlighted “severely constrained” humanitarian access in places like Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, which is “leaving affected people without basic services and protection.” The report further stats “mines, explosives, remnants of war and improvised explosive devices impede humanitarian aces and threaten the lives of vulnerable populations in conflict-affected regions.”

This year’s sum tops the US $20.1 billion that was requested last December for 2016, when, according to O’Brien, “humanitarian actors have saved, protected and supported more people than in any previous year since the founding of the United Nations.” In the end, the UN broadened its 2016 appeal to US $22.1 billion, however donors only produced US $11.4 billion for aid projects this year.

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