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In 2019 - 132 million people across the world will need urgent humanitarian assistance
by Mark Lowcock
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator
Dec. 2018
Today, We are launching the authoritative Global Humanitarian Overview 2019 (GHO), which outlines what the humanitarian and donor communities must do to assist and protect the world’s most vulnerable crisis-affected people.
In 2019, nearly 132 million people in 42 countries will require humanitarian assistance and protection. The United Nations and humanitarian partner organizations aim to assist nearly 94 million of the most vulnerable among these people.
The total funding needed for the Global Humanitarian response plans this year, including Syria, is expected to be comparable to the 2018 requirements of $25 billion.
The humanitarian situation in some places, such as in Burkina Faso and Senegal, has begun to stabilize. But a number of crises require a scale-up in the response. The crisis in Yemen has worsened dramatically, and we will need to provide assistance to 15 million people in the country in 2019. In Afghanistan, where the situation had been expected to improve this year, needs have instead increased because of drought, political instability and returning refugees.
Next year, humanitarian funding requirements will be dominated by eight crises: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The funding reflects what is required to alleviate horrific suffering and assist communities to build their resilience and begin to move beyond protracted or recurring crises.
The Global Humanitarian Overview is the world’s most comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of global humanitarian needs, response and requirements. It is based on detailed analysis of data, extensive assessments, and consultations with the humanitarian organizations and the other stakeholders in each affected country.
Since taking up my post as UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator last year, I have travelled to 18 countries and seen first-hand how the humanitarian community remains incredibly effective at alleviating suffering.
In 2019, as in preceding years, the principal driver of human suffering is protracted armed conflict and the mass displacement it generates. We have seen little political progress in addressing the underlying problems of humanitarian crises, principally poverty, development and governance failures and the impacts of climate change. In 2018, 94 per cent of funding received has been for responses to crises lasting longer than five years.
The average length of Humanitarian Response Plans – the individual country plans which make up the global GHO – have increased from five years in 2014 to more than nine in 2018. Large, protracted crises command the majority of need. Between 2014 and 2018, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Syria accounted for 55 per cent of all funding received.
Humanitarian costs are also high because the services that humanitarians provide are more comprehensive than ever. In many places, we have become the default providers of basic services.
This year the funding we received from donors towards humanitarian appeals enabled us to protect and save tens of millions of lives.
Each month for instance, humanitarians are reaching 8 million Yemenis with food assistance, and 5.4 million people in Syria with supplies, medical assistance and protection. Aid workers continue to do all they can to assist people in need, even amid mounting threats to their safety.
Our assistance is more efficient, effective and accountable than ever. But humanitarian need does not look set to decrease any time soon, and given that, we must not only address immediate critical needs but foster action to reduce them. We must shift from response to prevention and early action to prevent large-scale crises. This can not only save lives but also significantly reduces response costs.
Tens of millions of people across the globe need assistance to survive. The bottom line is that the most efficient and effective way to respond right now to the needs of the 94 million most vulnerable people is swift and generous support for the Global Humanitarian Overview.
* Access the Global Humanitarian Overview 2019 (80pp):

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Governments must do more to stop millions being “left behind”
by Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Oct 2018
Millions of people living in crisis may not be receiving the humanitarian assistance they desperately need, says a new report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The 2018 World Disasters Report says that the fact that millions of people are being left out cannot simply be attributed to a lack of funding for humanitarian action.
Elhadj As Sy, IFRC Secretary General, said: “This report makes for sobering reading for everyone involved in humanitarian assistance. Even if all humanitarian appeals were fully funded, it is likely that many millions of people would still be left behind. This report should shake the entire international humanitarian sector into actively seeking out those left desperate and hidden in the shadows.”
The 2018 World Disasters Report highlights five ways that the international humanitarian system misses people in need. Poor information about who is most in need and limited understanding about how best to help them means that programmes are not always targeting the right people in the right way.
Inadequate access to people who need support, and a lack of flexibility in expanding humanitarian assistance to people outside the traditional areas of conflict, disaster, displacement or disease often compound the problems. And inadequate funding is often forcing agencies to make very difficult choices.
The report provides a series of recommendations for donors, affected governments and aid groups to bridge these gaps in services. Recommendations include the need for better data on those most in need of humanitarian assistance and, critically, a call to governments and agencies to prioritize and incentivize support for people hardest to reach.
The report also makes a strong call for a major shift in how humanitarian resources are allocated, so that more money and more trust is put in the hands of local and national humanitarian organizations.
“If the vulnerable and under-supported groups discussed in the report are to be identified, reached, understood and supported, the international humanitarian sector must invest in local and national actors”, said Mr Sy.
“These groups, including National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, are uniquely placed to help overcome the chronic issues outlined in our report. They are already present in crisis settings. They speak local languages, understand local customs, and are often best placed to find and support the most isolated and vulnerable people in a manner that is fast, culturally appropriate and, we believe, cost effective.
“They are our best hope for ensuring that those most in need of help are no longer left behind.”
Despite many international commitments to support local and national actors, progress has been slow. Only 2.9 per cent of international humanitarian assistance was provided directly to local and national responders in 2017.
* Access the 2018 World Disasters Report via the link below.

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