One in every 45 people in the world – a record 168 million – will need humanitarian assistance in 2020, according to a United Nations report released on Wednesday.
The number of people on the brink of survival has grown by 22 million over the past year due to violent and protracted conflicts, climate change-related extreme-weather events and economic instability, according to the UN.
In their annual global humanitarian overview, the UN and partnering non-governmental organizations say they aim to help 109 million of the most vulnerable people in 55 countries next year, requiring 29 billion dollars in funding.
“Today we have laid out a plan to help those who need it most but it will only work if everyone continues to play their part,” UN emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock said in the report released in Geneva.
The eight worst food crises globally are linked to both conflict and climate shocks, according to the report.
“People caught up in conflict suffer displacement, hunger, psychosocial trauma, and loss of their livelihoods, education facilities and health services,” Lowcock said in the foreword of the report, which highlights that wars are killing a record number of children.
“More frequent drought and extreme weather events, such as flooding and tropical cyclones, disproportionately affect already poor and vulnerable populations,” Mr Lowcock added.
The document points to war-torn Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with needs remaining “exceptionally high” in Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan.
Mr Lowcock praised the humanitarian response for “getting better and faster” in reaching women, children and people with disabilities.