UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said Thursday that the United Nations enters 2014 facing “severe humanitarian crises” with ongoing conflicts affecting millions of people around the world. Amos, a UN undersecretary general, told reporters in New York that 2013 ended with the highest levels of humanitarian crises, citing severe needs for aid in Syria, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Philippines.
In Syria alone, an estimated 9.3 million people, including 6.5 million internally displaced people and more than 2.3 million Syrian refugees in the region, needed food, shelter and heath care, Amos said. Some 14 million people affected by the recent typhoon in the Philippines continued to rely on aid for survival, while the UN needed to reach 800,000 internally displaced people in CAR, including 500,000 facing hunger in 2014. In late December the UN asked donor countries provide 12.9 billion dollars in 2014 to enable aid agencies to reach 52 million people in need in 17 countries, Amos said.
The recent conflict in South Sudan, where 194,000 people have been driven from their homes by violence in recent weeks, added to the list of countries with severe humanitarian crises. Amos said that 57,000 people were given protection in UN peacekeeping bases in South Sudan, while the world body aimed to reach 600,000 South Sudanese with humanitarian aid in the next three months.
Afghanistan, Myanmar, Haiti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Somalia are also targeted countries, where the UN plans to reach millions of people with humanitarian assistance. “2013 was a real test of the global humanitarian system,” Amos said. “There is no indication that this year will be any different. It is clear that the United Nations and our partners are needed more than ever.” SAPA