Record UN appeal seeks $51.5 billion as 65 million more people to need aid in 2023

One in 23 people in the world will require humanitarian relief next year

A boy carries aid supplies in Sanaa, Yemen, one of the countries affected by prolonged war. EPA
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The UN needs a record $51.5 billion to meet humanitarian needs in 2023, it said on Thursday.

Around 339 million people, or one in 23 people worldwide, will require humanitarian assistance and protection next year, the UN's Global Humanitarian Overview released on Thursday found.

At least 222 million people in 53 countries will face acute food insecurity by the end of this year and 45 million people in 37 countries are at risk of starvation.

More nations in crisis, rising operational costs and inflation are behind the rise in the appeal, which is 25 per cent larger than last year's.

It is unlikely to be funded. This year's appeal for $41 billion only reached 47 per cent of its funding goal, a sharp decrease from usual years where it hovers between 60 and 65 per cent.

“The needs are going up because we’ve been by smitten by the war in Ukraine, by Covid, by climate,” said Martin Griffiths, Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator at the UN.

“I fear that 2023 is going to be an acceleration of all those trends, and that’s why we say … that we hope 2023 will be a year of solidarity, just as 2022 has been a year of suffering.”

Mr Griffiths said five countries were already experiencing "famine-like" conditions.

Many people living in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Haiti, Somalia and South Sudan face "catastrophic hunger" this year, but nationwide famines have yet to be declared.

Forced displacement is meanwhile surging, with the number of people living as refugees, asylum seekers or displaced inside their own country passing 100 million — more than 1 per cent of the global population — for the first time this year.

"And all of this on top of the devastation left by the pandemic among the world's poorest," Mr Griffiths said, also pointing to outbreaks of mpox, previously known as monkeypox, Ebola, cholera and other diseases.

Conflict has taken a dire toll on a number of countries, not least Ukraine, where Russia's full-scale invasion has left millions in desperate need.

The global humanitarian plan will aim to provide $1.7 billion in cash assistance to 6.3 million people inside the country, and also $5.7 billion to help the millions of Ukrainians and their host communities in surrounding countries.

More than 28 million people are meanwhile considered to be in need in drought-hit Afghanistan, where the Taliban swept back to power last year, while another eight million Afghans and their hosts in the region also need assistance.

More than $5 billion has been requested to address that combined crisis, while further billions were requested to help the many millions of people affected by the prolonged wars in Syria and Yemen.

The appeal also highlighted the dire situation in Ethiopia, where worsening drought and a two-year-conflict in Tigray have left nearly 29 million people in desperate need of assistance.

Updated: December 01, 2022, 9:40 AM