Record numbers of people need humanitarian assistance 

One in 22 people around the world are now in need of humanitarian assistancethat’s a staggering 362 million people, which is a record high.More than 110 million people have been forced to leave their homes; and more than 260 million people are facing acute food insecurity – with some at risk of famine. Conflicts, climate change and financial turmoil are increasing the need for aid. 

As UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said: “it takes a village to raise a child.It also takes a village to support people living through a humanitarian crisis.” 

Humanitarian aid agencies and UN partners work on the ground, often far from the spotlight, finding new ways to provide emergency aid around the world. 

In Ukraine last year, aid workers ramped up deliveries to support some 15.4 million people. Another 17 million people in Afghanistan, 2.8 million in Nigeria and 2.5 million in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have received humanitarian aid since the beginning of this year. 

Financing for humanitarian assistance is not keeping up with rising demand, with the Global Humanitarian Appeal only 20 per cent funded. Without a solution to the funding crisis, further cuts are inevitable. 

Almost half of the people in Haiti are unable to access sufficient food. Yet the World Food Programme has been compelled to reduce the number of people receiving emergency food assistance in the country due to a lack of funding.  

Some of the countries where the needs are the greatest, are also where funding for relief operations are declining, forcing humanitarians to reduce or cut assistance such as in West Africa and in Syria. 

“Less funding means the World Food Programme(WFP) is forced to stop assisting people who are only in the category of ‘crisis level’, this is so that we can save those who are literally starving – the category of catastrophic hunger,” saidCarl Skau, Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme. 

He explained that due to these cuts, people at “crisis levels” of hunger, will fall into “catastrophic levels”, further raising humanitarian needs in the future if the food security situation globally does not improve. 

Mr. Skau called on world leaders to prioritize funding for humanitarian response, enhance coordination with aid organizations, and address the root causes that cause these crises. 

In South Sudan, conflict, climate change and soaring costs are causing some of the highest levels of hunger in the world. But just handing out food is not the solution.  

“We must break the cycle and empower communities to plant the seeds of hope, opportunity, and economic development. With peace and stability, the potential of South Sudan is incredible,” Cindy McCain, Executive Director of the World Food Programmestressed. 

In Ukraine, preparations are underway to prepare for winter which involves distributing quilts, fuels, stoves and thermal insulation to houses damaged last winter in the conflict.  

“[The] Humanitarian situation hasn’t changed, the war continues, and it intensifies, and so do the needs. The only way to change this is for the war to stop,” Denise Brown, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine said. 

We need to find ways to increase humanitarian resources, to deliver aid more efficiently and effectively, to better protect individuals in crises, to reduce food insecurity and to increase resilience by investing in climate adaptation. 



Photo: UNHCR/Sylvain Cherkaoui