UN agencies and their partners announced yesterday that that they were seeking over $20 billion in funding next year - the largest humanitarian appeal in history. The announcement comes after a mass flow of refugees, war and catastrophe through the year.
The UN agencies for health, refugees and humanitarian assistance known as WHO, UNHCR and OCHA and their partner organisations seek to help 87 million people in need in 37 countries, including Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and Iraq, next year. They were the most vulnerable people among an estimated 125 million who require help, according to officials.
The agencies were already running short - they said, they were only half-funded in their 2015 appeals for $19.9 billion and faced a total funding gap of $10.2 billion, which too was a record. The funds, mostly from governments, go towards providing medical support, food, shelter, protection and other aid for vulnerable or displaced people.
The appeals extend to all sorts of human miseries, such as those caused by war and natural disasters. According to the agencies, some 60 million people worldwide had been forced to flee their homes in recent years - the highest level in the post-war era.
''Human suffering has reached levels not seen since the Second World War,'' said Stephen O'Brien, under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs.
''It is clear that with the present level of resources, we are not able to provide even the very minimum in both core protection and life-saving assistance,'' UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said yesterday, as he launched the Global Humanitarian Overview 2016 in Geneva.
''The international humanitarian system is all too often the only safety net that exists for people fleeing wars. It has to be funded on a scale that's realistic and commensurate with today's immense challenges.''