GENEVA - The United Nations is launching a $21.9 billion humanitarian appeal for 2019 to help nearly 94 million people in 42 countries survive conflict, hunger, homelessness, deprivation, and the impact of climate change.
The United Nations said it expects its 2019 appeal will reach a record-breaking high of $25 billion after Syria's humanitarian needs are fully assessed early next year.
The beneficiaries of the appeal constitute the most vulnerable of nearly 132 million people across the globe. More than one-fifth of the funds requested or $4 billion will go to Yemen, which the United Nations considers the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock said conditions in Yemen are worsening. Up to 24 million people or 75 percent of the population will need humanitarian assistance next year.
"The U.N. is planning to meet the needs of 15 million of those people … and that includes providing emergency food assistance to 12 million people," he said. "… Other countries where the situation has deteriorated include Afghanistan because of the mixture of drought, instability, insecurity, the economic challenges and so on. And, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, where we are seeing an upsurge of conflict and violence."
The United Nations reports donors provided a record $13.9 billion in humanitarian aid last year. While welcoming this generosity, U.N. officials say this still represents a significant funding gap in the $20 billion requested for 2018.
Lowcock noted the lion's share of money from the current appeal will provide life-saving aid for people caught in conflict situations. But, he added an increasing number of the recipients will be victims of natural disasters.
He said scientists forecast an 80 percent chance of an El Nino next year — an event which could precipitate or worsen drought, floods and tropical cyclones in 25 countries.