The United Nations says a staggering 235 million people worldwide will require humanitarian assistance next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, said needs for assistance have ballooned to unprecedented levels. It expects a 40% increase in the number of people in need of such assistance in 2021 compared to this year – a sign that pain, suffering and torment brought by the coronavirus outbreak and other problems could get worse even with hopes of a vaccine on the horizon.
OCHA made the projections in its latest annual Global Humanitarian Overview on Tuesday, saying its hopes to reach 160 million of those people in need will cost $35 billion.
That’s more than twice the record $17 billion that donors have provided for the international humanitarian response so far this year – and a target figure that is almost certain to go unmet.
“The picture we are presenting is the bleakest and darkest perspective on humanitarian needs in the period ahead that we have ever set out, I think and that is a reflection of the fact that the COVID pandemic has wreaked carnage across the whole of the most fragile and vulnerable countries on the planet,” said UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock, who heads OCHA.
Speaking via video link at a news conference in Geneva, Lowcock added “we thought that nearly 170 million people in the world would need humanitarian assistance this year. Coming into 2021, we think that’s going to be 235 million.”
The overview, which is billed as one of the most comprehensive looks of the world’s humanitarian needs, has put together nearly three dozen individual response plans for a total of 56 “vulnerable” countries.
Rita Osakwe/Agency Reports