62 million people need humanitarian help worldwide

19 Jul 2012

New York - The number of people needing humanitarian aid around the world has risen from 51 million to 62 million – an increase of more than 20 per cent – during the first half of 2012.

More than 18 million people in nine countries in the Sahel region are facing a severe food and nutrition crisis, worsened by conflict in northern Mali. More than a million children under five are at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition and over 200,000 people have fled into neighbouring countries.

Conflict, food insecurity and malnutrition have also steeply worsened in Yemen. Sixty per cent of children under five are chronically malnourished, a rate second only to Afghanistan, where so far this year, more than 200,000 people have been affected by some 300 natural disasters. In Syria, hundreds of thousands of people are affected by the intensifying armed conflict, which has caused many to flee to neighbouring countries.

South Sudan is coping with increasing numbers of refugees from Sudan, as well as the return of hundreds of thousands of people of South Sudanese origin from Sudan, amid mounting food insecurity and malnutrition.

“Halfway through this year we are seeing people in desperate need in twenty countries, whose lives and livelihoods have been shattered by conflict, hunger and disaster,” said Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. “As well as providing effective emergency aid, humanitarian organizations are also working to improve the resilience of communities so that they can better cope with the impact of future natural disasters and conflicts.”

Some 560 humanitarian aid organizations are using the Consolidated Appeal Process to respond strategically to major crises and monitor the effectiveness of their work. Today, humanitarian partners have raised their funding requirements, from US$7.8 billion, at the beginning of the year, to $8.8 billion. 45 per cent of the funding required has been received but this leaves a gap of $4.8 billion for the remainder of 2012.

“We have reached at least 21 million people so far with humanitarian aid, but our partners need further resources to reach everyone in need,” said ERC Amos. “I commend humanitarian donors for maintaining their generosity and commitment to effective, coordinated and timely aid.”

Contact Information

Amanda Pitt, OCHA New York, pitta@un.org , +1 212 963 4129, Cell +1 646 675 6398

Jens Laerke, OCHA Geneva, laerke@un.org, Tel. +41 22 917 1142, Cell +41 79 472 9750