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274 million people worldwide need emergency aid and protection in 2022
by UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, agencies
11:48am 8th Dec, 2021
Dec. 2021
As humanitarian needs continue to rise around the world, the United Nations and humanitarian partners have launched their annual assessment and plan for how to alleviate the suffering of the world's most vulnerable people in 2022.
A total of 274 million people worldwide will need emergency aid and protection in 2022, a 17 per cent increase compared to last year’s launch of the Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO). The United Nations and partner organizations aim to assist 183 million people most in need across 63 countries in 2022.
UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said:
“The climate crisis is hitting the world’s most vulnerable people first and worst. Protracted conflicts grind on, and instability has worsened in several parts of the world, in Ethiopia, Myanmar, and Afghanistan.
The pandemic is not over, and many poor countries are deprived of vaccines. Our goal is that this global appeal can go some way to restoring a glimmer of hope for millions of people who desperately need it.”
More than 1 per cent of the world’s population is displaced. Extreme poverty is rising again. In most crises women and girls suffer the most, as gender inequalities and protection risks are heightened. Famine remains a terrifying prospect for 45 million people in 43 countries.
Aid workers on the front lines are sounding the alarm: some 120 civil-society organizations – nearly 100 of them based in countries hard hit by hunger have issued a joint letter urging world leaders to fully fund the response needed to prevent famine globally and to address the major threats driving food insecurity: conflict, the climate crisis, COVID-19 and its wide-ranging economic shocks.
In 2021, aid organizations stepped up to help contain the worst consequences of the crises. Through projects carried out by the UN, humanitarian agencies and non Government organizations, 107 million people were reached.
In South Sudan, over half a million people were brought back from the brink of famine. In Yemen, health partners conducted more than 10 million medical consultations. And cash assistance was put in the hands of families with few other means of survival.
The Global Humanitarian Overview 2022 includes 37 response plans covering 63 countries. It is a comprehensive and evidence-based assessment of the most pressing humanitarian needs.
It aims to fight hunger, killer diseases, offer shelter to those with none, support children at high risk, address gender-based violence, offer support to displaced peoples, help those most in need.
2021 was a year of challenge. At the start of the year, the pandemic was hitting hard. Combined with ongoing conflicts and the climate crisis, it has driven up humanitarian needs. Children, especially girls, are missing out on their education. Women’s rights are threatened. Multiple famines loom.
Individual lives and livelihoods, regional and national stability, and decades of development are at risk. The cost of inaction in the face of these challenges is high.
The spike in humanitarian need is driven by a confluence of political instability and conflict, increased displacement levels, climate impacts and the effects of COVID-19. Crises have expanded their geographical range within already weakened States. Specific natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Haiti and Hurricanes Eta and lota in Central America have added to needs.
This year there are nine country plans with requirements above $1 billion: Afghanistan, DRC, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Conflict, poverty, deepening food insecurity and other vulnerabilities have triggered coordinated appeals across 30 countries and 7 regions.
In Afghanistan, more than 24 million people require life-saving assistance to prevent catastrophe. This represents a dramatic increase in needs, driven by a combination of conflict, COVID-19, political turmoil, recurrent economic shocks and the worst drought in 27 years.
A decade into the crisis in Syria and basic service delivery continues to be vastly inadequate and hampered by damaged infrastructure, lack of critical supplies and, increasingly, financial unaffordability. Average household expenditure now exceeds available income by 50 per cent, compared to 20 per cent in August 2020.
Despite continued efforts to mitigate the risk of famine in Yemen, food insecurity continues to remain a key challenge. Acute food insecurity is a reality for 16.2 million people in the country. Even with the current levels of humanitarian assistance, 40 per cent of the population have inadequate food.
In Ethiopia, climate shocks, unprecedented levels of conflict, insecurity and disease outbreaks coupled with a deteriorating economy continue to exacerbate humanitarian needs for 25.9 million people. Many of the 4.3 million IDPs seek shelter in urban areas, further increasing pressure on vulnerable families within host communities.
People in Myanmar are facing an unprecedented political, human rights and humanitarian crisis, with needs escalating dramatically since the military takeover and a severe COVID-19 third wave in 2021. Humanitarian assistance is needed by 14.4 million people.
In Haiti, 43 per cent of the population needs humanitarian assistance. The country is experiencing a profound and disturbing deterioration of the socioeconomic, political and security context coupled with the effects of the pandemic and a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that affected more than 800,000 people.
South Sudan is facing its highest levels of food insecurity and malnutrition since the country declared independence 10 years ago. Macroeconomic shocks, three years of consecutive flooding, disease outbreaks and increasing subnational violence have resulted in 8.4 million people in need and a growing number of threats against humanitarian workers.
An estimated 19.6 million people require assistance and protection across the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country beset with some of the world’s most acute and prolonged crises. Acute levels of humanitarian need stem from overlapping crisis drivers, including armed conflict and violence, epidemics and natural disasters. Due lack of sufficient funding support, food security needs are not being met with rations recently halved.
More than seven years after the armed conflict began in eastern Ukraine, there is still no comprehensive political solution in sight. Approximately 3.4 million people on both sides of the “contact line” confront critical humanitarian needs.
Ten months into 2021, humanitarian partners had received only 55 per cent of the funding for Iraq, affecting critical sectors including education and food security.
The pandemic has severely affected funding for refugees and asylum seekers. In 2021, UNHCR projected that $924 million would be required to protect people from the fallout of the disease. However, by August 2021, only 33 per cent was funded, leaving a gap of $623 million. This has led to food insecurity, limited access to health services and education for children.
Vaccination rates among refugees and other people of concern are low, with around 350,000 vaccine doses administered by September 2021. This not only creates health implications but also social disadvantages, placing these individuals at risk of exclusion and isolation.
As crises unfold, humanitarian actors work to provide coordinated multi-sectoral assistance, identifying the areas where affected people face the most needs, from safety and protection, to food insecurity, shelter or cash assistance. Funds are the cornerstone of a feasible humanitarian response; without sufficient financial commitments, many needs will not be met.
The stark reality is that by August 2021, less than half of the funding requested and needed by UNHCR for 2021 was received.
Iraq was 34 per cent funded, Syria 39 per cent, South Sudan 41 per cent, DRC 42 per cent, Nigeria 43 per cent, Somalia 46 per cent, Myanmar 47 per cent, Venezuela 48 per cent and Burundi 50 per cent.
Such funding deficits make it harder to provide 2 million Syrian Internally Displaced People with life-saving winterization assistance; 950,000 South Sudanese refugees with access to running water for example.
The cost of inaction hits humanitarian response hard. In acute humanitarian settings, urgent life-saving and life-sustaining needs must be prioritized over early recovery and resilience-building plans. This can lead to a lack of progress on ending persistent crises.
The 2022 humanitarian funding requirements need be met in full and on time. Last year’s Global Humanitarian Overview received only 46 per cent of its funding requirements, a discouraging figure for humanitarian workers on the ground coping with endless needs and shortages. Prolonging emergency situations will only cost more in the future.
Sufficient financing from donors is required to address the critical needs of those most vulnerable, and deliver humanitarian responses in 2022.
* UN WebTV GHO 2022:

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