For 2017, humanitarian partners will require $22.2 billion to meet the needs of 92.8 million people in 33 countries. The initial appeal for 2016 stood at $20.1 billion to meet the needs of 87.6 million people in 37 countries. This is in stark contrast to the $2.7 billion called for in the first six inter-agency humanitarian appeals launched in 1992. The last quarter century has seen an overwhelming shift in frequency, scale and magnitude of humanitarian emergencies.
Crises in Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Sudan have necessitated appeals almost every year. This has also been the case since the turn of the millennium for CAR, Chad, Iraq and the occupied Palestinian territory.
As 2017 approaches, these same countries and many others are immersed in conflict and urgently require a multidimensional response. In Afghanistan for example, needs are increasing due to massive displacement and protracted conflict. In Burundi, the political crisis continues to deepen and the number of people in need of urgent support has tripled to 3 million. About 1.2 million people, 80 per cent of them women and children, have fled from South Sudan, making this the largest refugee movement in Africa.
Aid organizations in Syria expect protection and humanitarian needs to grow exponentially if hostilities continue and no political solution is found. In the Lake Chad Basin, Boko Haram violence is causing instability and insecurity and there is little evidence that a political solution is forthcoming.
Humanitarian access is severely constrained and has grown in complexity in countries including Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, preventing humanitarians from carrying out their work and leaving affected people without basic services and protection.
Mines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices impede humanitarian access and threaten the live s of vulnerable populations in conflict-affected regions. As Iraqis work to rebuild their lives as a result of the Mosul military campaign, mine clearance will be essential for their safe return, and to ensure that schools, hospitals and infrastructure function satisfactorily.
Food insecurity and malnutrition will continue to drive humanitarian need. Across the Sahel, hundreds of thousands of households live in unacceptably precarious conditions. Food insecurity, acute malnutrition, disease and disasters are a reality for millions. Conflict in the region and in bordering countries has uprooted many people from their homes and livelihoods and forced them into dependency on external assistance. Where chronic vulnerabilities drive humanitarian needs, humanitarians are collaborating with development actors to bring about a “shift from delivering aid to ending needs”. In 2017, transitional Humanitarian Action Plans for Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal will be strategically aligned with resilience and development frameworks.
At the World Humanitarian Summit the humanitarian community resolved to change the way it works in order to adapt to the changing operational context to meet the needs of affected people. Six countries will develop multi-year response plans in 2017 to allow partners to address needs arising from protracted crises more effectively. Multi-year planning and the Humanitarian Response Plans are designed to increase the chances for greater collective impact and accountability.
United Nations agencies and partners are relying especially on unearmarked and multi-year donor support to ensure timely response. Low, delayed and unpredictable funding with strict allocation criteria has dire consequences. In Ukraine, for example, inadequate funding has resulted in major delays, interruptions and discontinuation of critical activities such as mobile health clinics and services in hard-to-reach areas. Maintaining transport links for humanitarian relief for vulnerable people in Mali has been seriously challenging in 2016. In Yemen, underfunding, outstanding pledges and bureaucratic impediments limit the reach of humanitarian partners to save countless children from dying from hunger. If sufficient funds are not secured for DRC, 4.3 million people will face heightened risk of morbidity or death due to malnutrition, food shortage and epidemics.
In 2017 urgent humanitarian assistance will be required in Ethiopia, Somalia, Haiti and Southern Africa due to the El Niño event and its successor, La Niña. In Southern Africa El Niño caused a 9.3 million ton cereal production deficit and led to severe water shortages. Here and elsewhere, failure to act upon the alarming crises outlined in this Global Humanitarian Overview 2017 could lead to a far wider humanitarian crisis with devastating repercussions to life, livelihoods and security.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.