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UN Aid Appeal for More Than $21B Going Unheeded

  • Lisa Schlein

FILE - A doctor attends to a malnourished child at a refugee camp in Yola, Nigeria. The number of people worldwide in need of humanitarian assistance has soared to a record-breaking 130 million, U.N. figures show.

FILE - A doctor attends to a malnourished child at a refugee camp in Yola, Nigeria. The number of people worldwide in need of humanitarian assistance has soared to a record-breaking 130 million, U.N. figures show.

The United Nations says a record number of people caught in conflict and natural disasters are in need of humanitarian assistance. At the same time the world body warns the funding response to these crises falls far short of what is needed.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has just released its 2016 mid-year Global Humanitarian Overview, which says the situation is very worrisome.

OCHA reports the number of people worldwide in need of humanitarian assistance has soared to a record-breaking 130 million, nearly 44 million more than when the United Nations launched its annual multi-billion-dollar appeal in December.

At the same time, it says funding requirements have increased by $2 billion to $21.6 billion, a sum needed to assist more than 95 million of the world’s most vulnerable people.But it notes only $5.5 billion dollars has been received.

Rising cost of aid delivery

OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke told VOA about 80 percent of humanitarian aid goes to people affected by conflict.

FILE - Two girls walk near a Red Crescent aid convoy carrying urgent medical supplies in the town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria, May 26, 2016.

FILE - Two girls walk near a Red Crescent aid convoy carrying urgent medical supplies in the town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria, May 26, 2016.


“There is no doubt that these protracted conflicts, and I mentioned some of them, Central African Republic, Syria, South Sudan, they cost a lot of money.They are very expensive, not only because they touch upon a large number of people.But also because delivering aid in some certain circumstances is very expensive because of insecurity and all the measures that need to be taken to mitigate against that,” Laerke said.

Laerke added that unprecedented global, forced displacement also is stretching the ability of humanitarian organizations and donors.A recent report by the U.N. refugee agency found that 65 million people are either refugees or internally displaced.

The United Nations reports victims of natural disasters also account for the rise in those needing international help.Since December, the world body notes Fiji has faced a cyclone and Ecuador was hit by a devastating earthquake.

It says the El Nino weather phenomenon has led to severe droughts in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, destroying harvests and decimating cattle and other livestock.

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