UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock has said in a meeting that as many as 132 million people will require support in 2019.
The UN and its partner organisations aim to provide support for 93.6 million people. The usual suspects generate so many needy people: political reasons like war and environmental reasons like drought and tropical storms.
“Something like one person in 70 around the world is caught up in crisis and urgently needs humanitarian help or protection,” Mr. Lowcock said. “We have a larger number of people displaced, mostly by conflict than we have seen in the world before, nearly 70 million.”
The UN’s Global Humanitarian Appeal for 2019 amounts to $21.9 billion; it is expected to increase to $25 billion, once Syria’s financial needs have been calculated.
So far, donors have pumped in a record $13.9 billion in funding, which is about 10 per cent more than at the same time last year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Ongoing violence between Government forces and Houthi opposition in Yemen is estimated to leave about eight million people desperately needing support.
Highlighting the near-economic collapse of Yemen’s economy which will require long-term financial support from the international community if it is to recover, Mr. Lowcock warned that next year, three-quarters of the country’s population—24 million people—are likely to need help.
“The country with the biggest problem in 2019 is going to be Yemen,” he said, before insisting that the UN’s coordinated response plans help the humanitarian community “to deliver, more and better” to millions of people.
In total the UN is seeking $4 billion for its Yemen appeal, Mr. Lowcock said, adding that “there’s going to need to be billions of dollars’” additional support for the Government of Yemen from the international community, because oil revenues are down 85 per cent.
“Unless they get help the problems associated with plummeting currency are going to happen again,” the UN official said, while also stressing the need to tackle the root causes of conflicts everywhere.
Apart from Yemen, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Sudan will also be home to a number of people requiring all sorts of support, Mr. Lowcock said.
The environmental reasons are not far behind. The UN official said that there is an 80 per cent chance in 2019 of an El Nino event, which is linked to extreme weather events.
While the impact is not expected to be as widespread as in 2016, it is still likely to be a “significant” event and affect some 25 countries with drought, tropical cyclones and floods including South Africa, Malawi and Madagascar, Mr. Lowcock warned.
Both the political and environmental reasons for this crisis are man-made. The focus should also be on eliminating the causes.