A record 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance next year, a nearly 40 per cent increase on 2020 which is “almost entirely from Covid-19”, a top UN official said on Tuesday.
In an appeal for $35 billion to meet humanitarian needs next year, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said the global health crisis had resulted in people reeling from conflict, levels of displacement and climate change shocks, reports Xinhua news agency.
He added that “multiple” famines are looming.
This year’s Global Humanitarian Overview sets out plans “to reach 160 million of the most vulnerable people in 56 countries”, Lowcock said.
He noted that while richer countries had invested large amount in staving off economic disaster from the Covid-induced slump and could now see “light at the end of the tunnel”, the situation in relatively poor countries remains precarious.
Lowcock said “multiple” famines were looming, adding that funding was needed to “stave off famine, fight poverty, and keep children vaccinated and in school”.
He also highlighted how climate change and rising global temperatures had further contributed to the bleak outlook for humanitarian needs in 2021 — humanitarian agencies have plenty of work to do in countries most vulnerable to climate change.