UN launches largest ever humanitarian appeal at $20.1 billion for confronting conflicts, disasters
Dec 8, NY: Warning that global suffering has reached levels not seen in a generation, the United Nations and its partners launched their largest ever humanitarian appeal, calling for 20.1 billion life-saving dollars for 2016, even as the 2015 appeal posts the largest funding gap on record – $10.2 billion.
“Conflicts and disasters have driven millions of children, women and men to the edge of survival. They desperately need our help,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said as he launched the Global Humanitarian Overview 2016 in Geneva, calling the outlook for next year grim.
The amount of the appeal, five times that of a decade ago, even tops the revised total appeal for 2015 of $19.9 billion, for which international donors have provided only $9.7 billion, just 49 per cent. The new appeal seeks to deliver life-saving aid to over 87.6 million people across 37 countries, most of which are in conflict.
The “brutal, extended” conflicts in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen will remain among the greatest drivers of prolonged humanitarian needs in 2016, fuelling new displacement within countries and across borders, the appeal said.
Worldwide, the number of people forced to flee their homes has already reached 60 million, a level previously unknown in the post-World War II era, half of them children.
UN World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan stressed the disastrous effects conflict and natural disasters are having on global health.
“The number of people now affected by conflicts and other crises is unprecedented, with an unprecedented impact on their health,” she said. “WHO and its partners are committed to ensuring that everyone - especially women and children – get the health care they desperately need. But we urgently require more funding in order to do so.”
The appeal’s Executive Summary stressed that addressing underfunding requires a range of measures, including adjusting the approach to protracted crises and disasters, leveraging diverse funding sources, using the right mix of financial instruments for each situation and investing more in preparedness.
“Faced with ever-growing needs, we rely on the international community, Governments and the public to give their support and resources – financially and in kind – to allow us to continue humanitarian action,” it concluded. “Our shared aims are to end suffering, meet the immediate needs of crisis-affected people, keep them safe from harm and enable them to live in dignity.
The Oslo Times