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Very large assistance needs and famine risk will continue in 2018
by OCHA, Fews Net, ACAPS
4:59pm 2nd Dec, 2017
Dec. 2017
2018 Global Humanitarian Appeal. (OCHA)
Some 136 million people across the world are in urgent need of humanitarian aid and protection due to protracted conflicts, natural disasters, epidemics and displacement.
In response to people’s urgent needs, UN-coordinated humanitarian response plans aim to reach 91 million of the most vulnerable people with food, shelter, health care, emergency education, protection and other basic assistance in 2018.
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock:
''The Global Humanitarian Overview for 2018 is the world’s most comprehensive, authoritative, and sophisticated assessment of humanitarian need in the year ahead. It is based on data gathered from hundreds of different sources, including from hundreds of thousands of face-to-face interviews with people affected by humanitarian crises across the 30 or 40 countries where we expect to need to deliver a humanitarian response in 2018.
The overview - and the detailed country by country reports which accompany it - sets out highly prioritized, costed plans that aim to alleviate the suffering of affected people and aim to deliver assistance quickly and efficiently.
The response plans are coordinated across the United Nations and most of the world’s leading NGOs, and they reflect participation and inputs from Governments, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, and a wide range of other stakeholders.
In 2018, in countries with Humanitarian Response Plans, we are projecting that 136 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection, that is 6 per cent higher than we were projecting for 2017 this time last year. During the course of 2017, the number of people in need has gone up reflecting some new crises like that of the Rohingya refugees and also reflecting bigger problems on some of crises that we were forecasting.
The 2018 overview calls for US$22.5 billion to provide urgent assistance and protection to 91 million of those affected people across 26 countries. (With costs averaging approximately $230 a year per person to meet essential needs).
Conflict and violence will continue to be the main drivers of humanitarian need in 2018, they force people to flee from their homes, they deny them access to adequate food, and they rob them of their means of making a living. Droughts, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters will also fuel humanitarian suffering.
In 2017, humanitarian agencies reached tens of millions of people in need, saving millions of lives. Together, aid groups and humanitarian donors helped stave off famines in South Sudan, Somalia, north-east Nigeria and Yemen and stepped up to provide rapid assistance to refugees fleeing from violence in Myanmar.
Each year the global humanitarian system reaches tens of millions of people and we save millions of lives, but we don’t have the resources we need and we’re facing some very big challenges. We need more support for our work to deliver urgently needed assistance to those in great need''.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International:
“With unprecedented levels of humanitarian need, we at Save the Children have a lot to do.. But we also need governments and institutions to take a longer term approach by tackling the cause of these crises as well as the symptoms. By brokering peace agreements, investing in education, helping communities build resilience to climate shocks, and speaking up when people are persecuted. Without this, we will continue to see a record level of suffering.”
For 2018, needs will remain at exceptionally high levels in Nigeria, South Sudan, the Syria region and Yemen, which is likely to remain the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, in terms of the number of people who need help and whose life are in immediate danger.
In some countries needs will fall, but still remain significant, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Mali, and Ukraine. But at the same time, needs are rising substantially in Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Somalia.
* 2018 Global Humanitarian Appeal:
November 28, 2017
Very large assistance needs and Famine risk will continue in 2018. (Fews-Net)
Following unprecedented food assistance needs in 2017, little improvement is anticipated during the coming year. Across 45 countries, an estimated 76 million people are expected to require emergency food assistance during 2018. Four countries – Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria – face a credible risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5).
Given that no improvement in underlying conditions is expected in these countries, the provision of humanitarian assistance will be a primary determinant of whether Famine is averted. Governments, international agencies, donors, and other stakeholders should make all possible efforts to resolve conflict, ensure humanitarian access, and provide timely, multi-sectoral assistance to prevent large-scale loss of life.
Conflict will be the primary driver of food security emergencies during 2018 including in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In these countries, ongoing insecurity will continue to disrupt livelihoods, limit trade and market functioning, displace households, and hinder the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Poor rainfall, and its impact on crop and livestock production, will also contribute to a high level of need in some countries.
In parts of the Horn of Africa, a severe drought during the past 18 months has decimated livestock herds and sharply reduced crop production, particularly in Somalia and southeastern Ethiopia. Forecasts also indicate that below-average rainfall is likely during the spring 2018 rainy season, in part due to the ongoing La Niña.
In addition, rainfall in some pastoral areas of West Africa has been mediocre to poor for a third consecutive year, and forecasts for the upcoming seasons in Southern Africa and Central Asia indicate an increased likelihood of drier than usual conditions.
As a result of conflict, below-average rainfall, and a range of other shocks (e.g., currency depreciation, Fall Army Worm), an estimated 76 million people are likely to require emergency food assistance during 2018. This figure is 60 percent higher than in 2015 and only slightly lower than the 83 million people in need during 2017. The decline between 2017 and 2018 is due, almost entirely, to improvements in Southern Africa. The size of the food insecure population is likely to grow in most other countries.
Thirteen countries are expected to have more than one million people (local populations, IDPs, and refugees) in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse and in need of emergency assistance during 2018. These include: Yemen (>15 million); Syria, South Sudan, DRC, Ethiopia, and Nigeria (5.00–6.99 million); Afghanistan, Somalia, and Sudan (3.00–4.99 million); and Kenya, Iraq, Uganda, and Pakistan (1.00–2.99 million).
Four countries face a credible risk of Famine during 2018. In Yemen, a country which relies on maritime imports for 80 percent of its food, the closure of all ports to commercial trade risks a major deterioration in food insecurity, which is already severe.
In northeast Nigeria, while humanitarian access has improved in some areas, a Famine may be ongoing in remaining inaccessible areas of Borno State where access to food has been limited by ongoing conflict.
In South Sudan, ongoing conflict and hyper-inflation have led to extreme levels of food insecurity. In the absence of assistance, Famine would be likely in many areas, including Wau county, central Unity State, and northwest Jonglei State.
Finally, in Somalia, a severe drought during 2016 and 2017 has driven high levels of livestock death and three consecutive below-average crop harvests. While assistance may have prevented Famine in Somalia during 2017, the large loss of livestock and forecasts for poor 2018 rains mean that continued assistance flows are critical.
FEWS NET also remains very concerned about Ethiopia’s Somali Region where severe food insecurity persists, especially among displaced pastoral households.
* Access the report via the link below or see: Food Assistance Outlook Oct. 2017:
Humanitarian Overview: An Analysis of Key Crises into 2018, report from Assessment Capacities Project. (ACAPS)
The Humanitarian Overview: An analysis of key crises into 2018 focuses primarily on the crises that are expected to deteriorate in the coming year and outlines the likely corresponding humanitarian needs.
Based on our weekly Global Emergency Overview (GEO), we have identified 12 countries that are likely to face deteriorating humanitarian situations in 2018. We include a further six countries where the crises are already severe and likely to continue in a similar trend.
Across these countries, food security, displacement, health, and protection are expected to be the most pressing humanitarian needs in 2018.
Most humanitarian crises in this report are driven by conflict, with a spread in violence and shifts in tactics this year in several countries. The situations in Congo, South Sudan, and Venezuela are further compounded by economic crisis, and Ethiopia and Somalia are particularly affected by natural disasters.
ACAPS has taken a regional approach to analysis of the Rohingya crisis as the scope of it covers both the high influx of refugees into Bangladesh as well as those that have remained in Myanmar.
Each country section of this report covers the key driving factors of the current situation and the outlook and resulting humanitarian needs for 2018.
"If 2017 did not look good, predictions for 2018 are no better: violence and insecurity are likely to deteriorate in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Ethiopia, Mali, Somalia, and Syria next year," ACAPS director Lars Peter Nissen writes in the report.

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