The global need for humanitarian aid has reached a level not seen since World War II. More than 128 million people in 33 countries are now affected by crises, including conflict and natural disaster.
“Not in living memory have so many people needed our support and solidarity to survive and live in safety and dignity,” United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien wrote in the U.N.’s Global Humanitarian Overview 2017. The annual international action plan calls for a record $22.2 billion to support 92.8 million of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Despite the worsening nature of many of the world’s crises, internet traffic reveals “public fatigue” ― a decline in interest ― for the first time in three years, according to U.N. data. And, as the world’s humanitarian needs grow, the gap between funds needed and funds raised has widened.
Not in living memory have so many people needed our support and solidarity to survive and live in safety and dignity. Stephen O’Brien, United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator
“In 2016, donors provided well over $11 billion for the consolidated appeals ― the most that has ever been raised,” U.N. spokesman Russell Geekie told The WorldPost. “But the increases in support continue to fall well below the enormous humanitarian demands that have seen grow year after year.”
Humanity passed a number of dismal benchmarks in 2016. An unprecedented number of refugees and migrants died or disappeared while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. In war-torn Syria, the death toll approaches a half-million in almost six years of brutal conflict.
“Eighty percent of humanitarian need in the world is related to crisis ― it is man made,” said Geekie. “Humanitarians can help alleviate suffering and save lives, and they can help to build communities’ resilience.”
The WorldPost compiled a list of seven of the world’s most swiftly deteriorating and severely underfunded crises that urgently need your support. The list is based largely on findings presented in Global Humanitarian Overview 2017, and in other recent U.N. reports.
Three million people in Burundi will need humanitarian aid this year. The U.N. seeks to raise nearly $74 million to support 1 million of the most vulnerable men, women and children there ― an 18 percent increase from 2016, when 86 percent of the goal was raised. Donate here.
Food, shelter and health care needs are predicted to nearly triple in Burundi this year. More than 322,000 people have fled the country to escape civil unrest and escalating violence sparked by political tensions since April 2015. Conflict erupted a decade after the end of Burundi’s 12-year civil war, which killed an estimated 300,000 people. Burundi’s environment minister, Emmanuel Niyonkuru, was assassinated on Jan. 1, further exacerbating the political chaos.
Extreme poverty coupled with a growing population and an ailing agricultural industry has left 58 percent of Burundians chronically malnourished. The country is also prone to natural disasters, and has endured heavy floods and landslides in recent years, contributing to damaged infrastructure and crops.
Close to 3 million people in Cameroon will need humanitarian aid this year. The U.N. seeks to raise nearly $310 million to support 1.2 million of the most vulnerable men, women and children there ― a 33 percent increase from 2016, when 69 percent of the goal was raised. Donate here.
Violence by Islamist militant group Boko Haram has internally displaced some 200,000 Cameroonians. The impoverished country has also borne the brunt of many proximal crises, accepting tens of thousands of refugees from Nigeria, Chad and the Central African Republic. This has added great strain to a famine-stricken nation, where 2.6 million people are already facing drastic food shortages. The U.N. anticipates treating nearly 60,000 children affected by severe acute malnutrition in Cameroon this year.
Recurring droughts and floods led to a high rate of crop failure in Cameroon, where 70 percent of the population depends on agricultural activities. Widespread poverty has gripped the nation as well, with more than 40 percent of Cameroonians living below the poverty line. The nation’s development is hindered by weak governance, ranking 130th of 168 countries in the latest Transparency International corruption perceptions index.
Central African Republic
More than 2 million people in the Central African Republic will need humanitarian aid this year. The U.N. seeks to raise nearly $400 million to support 1.6 million of the most vulnerable men, women and children there ― a 25 percent decrease from 2016, when 37 percent of the goal was raised. Donate here.
Close to 40 percent of the Central African Republic’s population will need humanitarian aid this year. The war-torn nation grapples with a violent civil conflict that broke out in 2012 amid clashes between rebel and government forces. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced.
Aid agencies have reported gruesome acts of war, including rape, arbitrary killings, torture, cannibalism and religious persecution against Muslims. The Lord’s Resistance Army, a religious militia group, also remains a threat.
Less than one-third of the country has access to clean water, one in four people live without sanitation facilities, and about 2 million face severe food shortages. A number of diseases, including malaria, yellow fever and leprosy, have plagued the Central African Republic. Life expectancy there is 52.3 years.
Some 2.5 million people in Haiti will need humanitarian aid this year. The U.N. seeks to raise $370 million to support 2.2 million of the most vulnerable men, women and children there ― a 91 percent increase from 2016, when 35 percent of the goal was raised. Donate here.
Seven years after a massive earthquake ravaged Haiti, millions are still in dire need of aid. The tragedy decimated the country’s already-weak infrastructure and caused severe damage to its agricultural industry. Some 300,000 people were displaced, and at least 55,000 still live in camps.
“Haitians continue to suffer years after the earthquake,” U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Mourad Wahba, who has worked in the country for two years, told The WorldPost. “Many [people] are still living in unsanitary conditions due to displacement caused by the earthquake. We have a very long way to go.”
In the years since the quake, Haitians have endured disasters that included the worst cholera epidemic in recent history, violent political chaos, massive flooding and a years-long drought. These disasters have worsened the island nation’s poverty and famine crises, and crushed its recovery efforts. Hurricane Matthew tore through the country in November 2016, killing at least 1,000 people and leveling entire communities.
At least 58.6 percent of Haiti’s population lives in poverty. The U.N. expects hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic will return to Haiti as the Dominican government continues waves of arbitrary expulsions, placing heavy demands on Haiti’s weakened agriculture sector.
Some 8.5 million people in Nigeria will need humanitarian aid this year. The U.N. seeks to raise more than $1.05 billion to support 6.9 million of the most vulnerable men, women and children there ― a 118 percent increase from 2016, when 53 percent of the goal was raised. Donate here.
Boko Haram militants have waged years of bloodshed on much of northeastern Nigeria’s Borno State and nearby regions, with no end in sight. More than 2.1 million people have been internally displaced, and tens of thousands have been killed by the insurgency.
From 2016 to 2017, nutrition needs will nearly triple. More than 5 million Nigerians will soon face food insecurity, according to the U.N. The organization estimates that 400,000 children there could suffer from severe acute malnutrition over the next year, and warns that if they don’t receive treatment, one in five will die.
The unrelenting violence has destroyed 42 percent of health care structures, making medical aid all but inaccessible in many conflict-afflicted areas. Nigerian life expectancy is just 53.4 years.
More than 6 million people in South Sudan will need humanitarian aid this year. The U.N. seeks to raise $1.3 billion to support 5.1 million of the most vulnerable men, women and children there. Last year, 85 percent of the goal was raised. Donate here.
The total number of South Sudanese refugees surpassed 1 million in September 2016, as people fled to Uganda at an unprecedented rate. The vast majority of refugees are women and children, and about 1.8 million people have been internally displaced.
The recent mass exodus from South Sudan was triggered by renewed violence in the five-year-old nation. The country descended into civil war amid violent political unrest in late 2013. Subsequent peace deals have collapsed, and fighting is likely to continue through 2017, causing additional displacement and human-rights abuses. The nation ranks 163rd of 168 countries in the latest Transparency International corruption perceptions index.
People in South Sudan are susceptible to diseases that include malaria, cholera and measles, but three-fourths of the population lacks access to health care services. Approximately 3.6 million people are in need of food assistance.
Nearly 19 million people in Yemen will need humanitarian aid this year. The U.N. seeks to raise $1.9 billion to support 10.3 million of the most vulnerable men, women and children there ― a 16 percent increase from 2016, when 61 percent of the goal was raised. Donate here.
Approaching its third year of civil war, Yemen is in a state of severe political and humanitarian crisis. Tensions broke out in March 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition launched a campaign of sustained airstrikes to help ousted Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi reclaim power.
More than 2 million people have been displaced by violence, and thousands have been killed. Only 45 percent of health centers are functional, leaving the population vulnerable to diseases that include pneumonia, malaria and measles.
Civilians are starving to death as the war rages. A sobering 14.1 million people are food-insecure or malnourished. Children are among the worst affected, and some have been recruited as child soldiers.
“It sounds cliché to say every bit helps,” said Geekie. “But with under-funded crises every year leaving people without the lifesaving support they need due to a lack of funds, every bit does indeed help.”
To support some of the most vulnerable crisis-afflicted people around the globe, make a donation to the United Nations Foundation Central Emergency Response Fund via the CrowdRise widget below.