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Under-Secretary-General Valerie Amos remarks to the press at the launch of the global humanitarian appeal 2015

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The number of people affected by conflicts and natural disasters around the world has reached record levels.

Just a year ago, UN agencies and partners asked for $12.9 billion to assist 52 million people who we considered to be the most vulnerable and most in need of protection.

Over the course of this year, the number of people affected by conflict and disaster has risen sharply. At the end of November, we estimated that there were 102 million people who were in need of assistance. Of those we targeted the most vulnerable 76 million of them. So the numbers went up from the beginning of the year when we were going to help 52 million to 76 million by the end of the year. As a result of this, we revised our appeal upwards, asking for $17.9 billion to help people in 31 countries. So again, a rise from $12.9 billion at the beginning of the year to $17.9 billion now.

In the plans that we are launching today, a combined 78 million people are considered in need of humanitarian assistance and we aim to respond to the urgent needs of 57 million of them. This does not include the nine countries in the Sahel and Djibouti; we will launch those appeals in February. We require $16.4 billion to meet the needs in the appeals that we are launching today.

If we look at this year, we have received so far $9.4 billion in funding. With that money, we helped to avert a famine in South Sudan; we delivered food aid to millions of Syrians every month; we provided medical supplies to a million Iraqis and food to 930,000 people in the Central African Republic. That is just some examples of what we were able to do.

Each year, we ask our donors for more and more funding for our appeals. But as needs rise, the resources gap is widening.

Responding to people’s suffering must be a shared responsibility and there must be a determined collective effort through 2015 to close the growing gap between needs and resources.

Syria, South Sudan, Iraq and the Central African Republic will remain the top priorities for humanitarian actors next year. These four crises alone account for over 70 per cent of the funding requirements we are asking for today.

But there are many other emergencies that demand our attention, for example Afghanistan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Yemen. And if you think about what is happening in these countries you will see that these are not second order crises. This is why we say that we are facing needs at an unprecedented level.

The people in these countries - and who this appeal intends to help - have experienced unimaginable suffering. Millions have been displaced within their own countries and across borders. High Commissioner António Guterres will speak about the plight particularly of refugees and the impact of those refugee flows on the countries which receive them. Thank you.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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