The outlook for 2016 is grim. Millions of civilians, uprooted from their homes by violent and prolonged con ict, will remain in desperate need of protection and humanitarian assistance. About 60 million people are displaced around the world, and more than a quarter of these displacements are due to the con icts in Iraq, South Sudan and Syria. Con ict has scarred people’s lives, robbed them of dignity, and shattered economies, livelihoods and vital infrastruc- ture, including health facilities and schools. Humanitarian partners require $20.1 billion to meet the needs of over 87.6 million people in 37 countries around the world.
In Syria, an estimated 13.5 million people need humanitarian assistance, including food, health care and shelter, and 70 per cent of the population remains without regular access to safe drinking water. Of the Palestinian refugees in Syria, 62 per cent are displaced and almost all depend on aid for their basic needs. In Iraq, the number of people who need protection and humanitarian assis- tance has doubled in the past year to 10 million. More than 3 million people living in ISIL-controlled territory are in need of assistance, yet humanitarian access in Iraq remains severely restricted by insecurity. In Libya, 2 million people need health assistance, but at least 20 per cent of all hospitals are closed, and up to 60 per cent of hospitals in con ict areas have been inaccessible or closed over the last six months.
In Yemen, grave violations and human rights abuses continue to be committed by all parties to the con ict. By mid-October, health facilities had reported over 32,300 casualties, including more than 5,600 deaths — an average of 153 injuries or deaths every day. Child deaths and inju- ries have increased vefold compared with last year. With more than 12 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, stranded migrants and food-insecure people, Yemen is a ashpoint for migration worldwide. But despite this, people are still willing to make the risky journey to Yemen: over 11,000 people arrived in October.
In South Sudan, food insecurity has reached its highest level since the con ict began. About 3.9 million people, or 34 per cent of the population, are severely food insecure — an 80 per cent increase from 2014. For the rst time, catastrophic-level food insecurity at the household level was reported for 40,000 people in the areas worst affected by ghting, where humanitarian workers’ access is limited. If access does not improve, the outlook for 2016 is bleak.
In CAR, some 2.3 million people (more than half of the population) require immediate humanitarian assistance. A quarter of the population remains displaced, with an estimated 480,000 IDPs and close to 450,000 refugees in neighbouring countries. CAR has one of the world’s most serious protection crises: human rights violations occur on a daily basis, especially against children, women, IDPs and minority groups. In neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), at least 8.2 million people are affected by the crisis.
Cameroon continues to host 323,000 refugees from CAR and Nigeria. This is in addition to the 92,000 people displaced following the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram. The number of food-insecure people has now more than doubled since June 2015 to 2 million people, 250,000 of whom require immediate food assis- tance to survive.
The current crisis in north-eastern Nigeria, precipitated by Boko Haram-related violence, is affecting some 14.6 million people. The situation in the Sahel countries shows no improvement. Seven of Mauritania’s 13 regions have excessive levels of malnutrition. In neighbouring Senegal, one in six people is food insecure. In Gambia, wasting among children under age 5 has signi cantly increased from 6.4 per cent in 2005 to 11.5 per cent today. Humani- tarian funding urgently needs to be scaled up.
Despite the extreme challenges and severe access restrictions, humanitarian organizations continue to reach more people than ever. During 2015, humanitarian partners in Sudan assisted more than 2 million people with health services and some 3.1 million people with food and agricultural inputs. Over 25,000 newly displaced house- holds and 120,000 South Sudanese refugees received shelter materials and essential household supplies. Some 83,000 children under age 5 were treated for severe acute malnutrition, and 1.6 million people were given access to improved drinking water. But despite donors’ generosity, the gap between needs and funding has continued to grow, and there is no quick x. The funding gap means that 1.2 million sick and injured people in Libya will not be able to access health care. Nearly 100,000 children will miss out on an education, and millions will continue to be exposed to threats to their safety and dignity. In Afghanistan, the funding gap means a further reduction in reach to the esti- mated 1 million malnourished children (current treatment reaches fewer than 30 per cent of children in need).
Underfunding also means that more children die before their fth birthday and suffer stunting due to malnutrition. More women die in childbirth; more people suffer from preventable diseases; more children lose the opportunity to build a future through education; and less protection is given to the most vulnerable displaced people, increasing the risk of sexual abuse and exploitation, especially for girls and women. It also means that more farmers are forced to use their seeds for food instead of crops, starting another cycle of poverty and deprivation.
Addressing underfunding requires a range of measures.It will mean adjusting the approach to protracted crises and disasters, including those in middle-income countries. Potential solutions include leveraging diverse funding sources; using the right mix of nancial instruments for each situation and investing more in preparedness. Funding mechanisms, such as the Central Emergency Response Fund and the country-based pooled funds, can effectively support a rapid humanitarian response and underfunded emergencies. The use of cash programming will ensure an ef cient, cost-effective response that gives people dignity and choice.
Faced with ever-growing needs, we rely on the interna- tional community, Governments and the public to give their support and resources — nancially and in kind — to allow us to continue humanitarian action. Our shared aims are to end suffering, meet the immediate needs of crisis-affected people, keep them safe from harm and enable them to live in dignity.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.