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Global Humanitarian Overview 2022
by UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, agencies
Dec. 2021
As humanitarian needs continue to rise around the world, the United Nations and humanitarian partners today launched their annual assessment and plan for how to alleviate the suffering 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 2022 GHO seeks to provide relief and protection to 183 million people in great need of emergency assistance.
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, notably 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.
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.
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.
While the political standoff persists, families face daily risks to their lives, limited access to essential basic services, limited livelihood opportunities and economic shutdowns. COVID-19 and its effects are yet another layer of hardship on top of the protracted conflict.
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.
The 2022 humanitarian funding requirements must 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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Afghanistan set to be world’s worst humanitarian crisis
by ICRC, WFP, UNICEF, IPC, agencies
22 November 2021
Afghanistan: Massive suffering for Afghan families. (ICRC)
The following is a statement from Dominik Stillhart, the director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross, at the end of a six-day visit to Afghanistan:
I am livid. Pictures viewed from afar of bone-thin children rightly elicit gasps of horror. When you're standing in the pediatric ward in Kandahar's largest hospital, looking into the empty eyes of hungry children and the anguished faces of desperate parents, the situation is absolutely infuriating.
It's so infuriating because this suffering is man-made. Economic sanctions meant to punish those in power in Kabul are instead freezing millions of people across Afghanistan out of the basics they need to survive. The international community is turning its back as the country teeters on the precipice of man-made catastrophe.
Sanctions on banking services are sending the economy into free-fall and holding up bilateral aid. Municipal workers, teachers, and health staff haven't been paid in five months. They walk up to two hours to work instead of taking public transportation. They have no money to buy food; their children go hungry, get dangerously thin, and then die.
At the paediatric intensive care unit the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) supports at Mirwais Regional Hospital in Kandahar, the number of children suffering from malnutrition, pneumonia and dehydration more than doubled from mid-August to September.
More broadly, severe and moderate global acute malnutrition is up 31% around Kandahar compared to the same period in 2020. Region by region the severity of child malnutrition can be up to three times the emergency rating. This is a serious food crisis even before the worst of winter sets in.
Amid a sea of heartache is one small silver lining: The ICRC on Monday began supporting 18 regional and provincial hospitals and the 5,100 staff who work in them to help prevent total collapse of the public health system in Afghanistan. This support, slated to last six months, includes funding for running costs and medical supplies, and will ensure the continuity of nearly half a million medical consultations per month. But it's not enough.
Drought, failed harvests, and the economic collapse are all driving the increase in malnutrition. Rising food costs are pushing proteins and other staples out of reach. As the harsh winter sets with temperatures below freezing, the suffering will be immense as people lack the cash to heat their homes.
What can be done?
First, states must engage with Afghanistan. This is the only way to prevent a total collapse of essential services like health care and education. Political considerations should not interfere with humanitarian action. A political solution must be found to avoid irreparable humanitarian consequences.
And this is technical but important. Foreign assistance to Afghanistan is currently put in question as donors ask themselves how they can comply with their legal obligations stemming from relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Simply put, some donors feel they can either comply with the resolutions and their own law -- thereby denying life-saving assistance -- or provide such assistance through organizations such as the ICRC and others.
Suppliers and banking services will have similar impediments. The ICRC is calling for a clear carve-out for impartial humanitarian organizations engaged in exclusively humanitarian activities, and for its translation into domestic legislation. It is in everyone's interest to see humanitarian activities operating smoothly in Afghanistan.
Amid what we know will be a tragic winter, the ICRC will step up its response to the most urgent humanitarian needs, but humanitarian assistance is only part of the solution. The existing and projected needs are beyond any humanitarian organization's capacity to deal with or solve.
More than 22 million Afghans will face crisis or emergency levels of acute hunger between November and March 2022, according to the latest IPC report. The desperation can be seen in the huge crowds lining up in front of banks at 5 a.m. in the hope that they can withdraw a little bit of cash.
The empty eyes of hungry children are not something one soon forgets. It makes my plea to the international community even more urgent: that it rapidly finds creative solutions to save millions of Afghans from deprivation and despair. Ultimately, this is in everybody's interest as it will help prevent Afghanistan from slipping back into conflict and violence, and help give Afghans more means to remain in their country.
25 October 2021
Afghanistan set to be world’s worst humanitarian crisis, WFP reports
World Food Programme calls for action as UN study estimates 22.8 million could face acute hunger during winter months, with 8.7 million people at emergency levels.
Afghanistan is becoming the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with needs surpassing those in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, according to figures released today.
With a harsh winter on its way, the latest IPC assessment (the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification), a global standard for assessing food insecurity, found 22.8 million people could face acute risk, while 8.7 million face emergency levels of hunger – a record in the ten years the UN has been conducting IPC analyses in the country.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said: ”We cannot allow Afghanistan to be a collective failure – the international community must prevent the crisis from becoming a catastrophe.”
It added: ”Things were already desperate, and now continuing drought, escalating displacement, the collapse of public services, and a deepening economic crisis have driven the entire country to the precipice.”
Since the withdrawal of international forces in August, the fall of the Afghan government and the Taliban takeover, the country has been in freefall. Job losses, lack of cash and soaring prices have pushed the humanitarian crisis to a new high, creating a new class of hungry, the report said.
For the first time, urban residents are suffering from food insecurity at similar rates to rural communities, which have been ravaged by drought twice in the past three years. Across cities, towns and villages, virtually no family can afford sufficient food, according to recent WFP surveys.
Testimonies collected by WFP included that of one man, Ishaq, in Bamyan province. He said: “Before, I had work and managed to bring home some food. “It was not much, but we somehow managed. But now there is no work at all, and we can’t afford to get part of our food. We manage with very simple food including bread and tea, potato soup ... so that our life moves forward until these problems get solved.”
At the moment, there is little sign of that happening.
“Children and older people are at particular risk,” said Jean-Martin Bauer, a WFP food security specialist. A million children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition, and 2 million more are at risk of moderate acute malnutrition. Additionally, 700,000 [pregnant or breastfeeding] women also need support.”
He added: “There’s a risk of increased mortality. We need to start helping millions more in Afghanistan. And if we don’t do that, people will pay the price.”
“Last month, WFP Afghanistan managed to feed 4 million people,” said Bauer. But current funding is a drop in the ocean. To face the increased needs, WFP will need US$220 million a month.
A crippling drought poses a further challenge to a political transition that has been met with international sanctions, and a financial and banking collapse.
The problem is “far more complex” than pointing to the political woes of the de facto authorities, said Bauer, adding that the numbers he has seen are “frightening”.
“People who used to be food-secure, people who live in urban areas, people who were part of the Afghan middle class are now facing food insecurity because they're not being paid anymore, and they don't have access to their savings anymore. If they don't have money, and they don't have food assistance, it’s going to be a long, dark winter.“
Due to a cash liquidity crisis, people are currently restricted to withdrawing US$200 a week. However, “in more remote locations the banks still don’t have cash, so they can’t even withdraw that,” said Hsiao-Wei Lee, WFP deputy country director in charge of operations for Afghanistan.
Bauer added: “The majority of Afghans need humanitarian aid … the entire country needs support and it’s urgent.. “No one wants to see Afghan children die as a result of, you know, politics, essentially. This is one of the worst food crises in the world in terms of numbers, in terms of severity. It's got different causes, but it's basically two tracks... what's happened on the political side, but also what's happening on the climate change side with drought. “We will be sowing the seeds of much bigger problems if we don't respond now,” Bauer said.
Oct. 2021
Afghanistan’s protracted food crisis has deepened and widened with a record high of nearly 19 million people experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity, classified in Crisis or Emergency (IPC Phases 3 or 4), between September and October 2021, due to a devastating combination of drought, conflict and economic collapse.
Among these, about 6.8 million people, mainly located in the country’s northern half, are experiencing critical levels of acute food insecurity, classified in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). The food security situation is highly concerning by any measure.
People are experiencing spiralling levels of acute food insecurity in both rural and urban Afghanistan and need urgent lifesaving support to prevent catastrophic levels of food insecurity, and livelihood assistance to help households recover.
Half of Afghanistan’s children under five expected to suffer from acute malnutrition as hunger takes root for millions. (WFP)
Wrapping up a two-day visit to Herat, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, Hervé Ludovic De Lys, and WFP Afghanistan Representative and Country Director, Mary-Ellen McGroarty, sounded the alarm on the dire state of malnutrition and food insecurity sweeping across the country.
Without reliable access to water, food and basic health and nutrition services, Afghan children and their families are bearing the brunt of years of conflict and the current economic crisis. 14 million people in Afghanistan are facing acute food insecurity, and an estimated 3.2 million children under the age of five expected to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of the year.
At least 1 million of these children are at risk of dying due to severe acute malnutrition without immediate treatment.
De Lys and McGroarty spoke with Jahan Bibi, whose 18-month-old daughter is being treated for severe acute malnutrition at the Herat Regional hospital. She brought her daughter to the hospital as she could no longer breastfeed her baby. “We have no food at home. We are selling everything to buy food, yet I barely eat anything. I am weak and I don’t have any milk for my child.”
With winter fast approaching, it is now a race against time to assist Afghan families also lacking access to safe water and health and nutrition services.
“As more families struggle to put food on the table, the nutritional health of mothers and their children is getting worse by the day,” said Hervé Ludovic De Lys, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan.
“Children are getting sicker and their families are less and less able to get them the treatment they need. Rapidly spreading outbreaks of measles and acute watery diarrhoea will only exacerbate the situation.”
According to WFP surveys 95 per cent of households in Afghanistan are not consuming enough food, adults are eating less and skipping meals so their children can eat more.
“We have huge concerns about the desperate choices families are being forced to take,” said Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP Afghanistan’s Representative and Country Director. “Unless we intervene now, malnutrition will only become more severe. The international community must release the funds they pledged weeks ago, or the impact could be irreversible.”
Sep. 2021
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore on children in Afghanistan:
Today, around 10 million children across Afghanistan need humanitarian assistance to survive. An estimated 1 million children are projected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition over the course of this year and could die without treatment.
An estimated 4.2 million children are out of school, including more than 2.2 million girls. Since January, the UN has documented over 2,000 grave violations of children’s rights. Approximately 435,000 children and women are internally displaced.
“This is the grim reality facing Afghan children and it remains so regardless of ongoing political developments and changes in government.
“We anticipate that the humanitarian needs of children and women will increase over the coming months amidst a severe drought and consequent water scarcity, the devastating socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the onset of winter.
“That is why, after 65 years in Afghanistan striving to improve the lives of children and women, UNICEF will remain on the ground now and in the days to come. We are deeply committed to the country’s children and there is far more work to be done on their behalf.
“Millions will continue to need essential services, including health, lifesaving vaccination drives against polio and measles, nutrition, protection, shelter, water and sanitation.
In recent years, significant strides have been made on increasing girls’ access to education – it is vital that these gains are preserved and advocacy efforts continue so that all girls in Afghanistan receive a quality education.
“Right now, UNICEF is scaling up its lifesaving programmes for children and women – including through the delivery of health, nutrition and water services to displaced families. We hope to expand these operations to areas that could not previously be reached because of insecurity.
“We urge the Taliban and other parties to ensure that UNICEF and our humanitarian partners have safe, timely and unfettered access to reach children in need wherever they are.
In addition, all humanitarian actors must have the space to operate according to the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
“Our commitment to Afghanistan’s children is unequivocal and our aim is to see that the rights of each and every one of them are realized and protected.”

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