|Monday, December 11, 2023 - 10:44
PEOPLE IN NEED
REQUIREMENTS (US$) $ 46.4 B
In 2024, nearly 300 million people around the world will need humanitarian assistance and protection, due to conflicts, climate emergencies and other drivers.
In the coming year, 74.1 million people will need humanitarian assistance in East and Southern Africa. The crisis in Sudan accounts for almost 40 per cent of this total. In-country requirements for Sudan, and the whole region, have increased since the conflict erupted in August 2023, with a massive outpouring of people to neighbouring countries. Sudan is experiencing a precipitous rise in needs from 15.8 million people in 2023, to a staggering 30 million people in 2024. In West and Central Africa, 65.1 million people are in need, and the crises in Burkina Faso and Niger have expanded and have intensified, driving increased needs compared to 2023. In the Middle East and North Africa, 53.8 million people require assistance, with the crisis in Syria resulting in 32.5 million people in need, both inside Syria and neighbouring countries. In Asia and the Pacific, 50.8 million people are in need, of whom 30.6 million is due to the Afghanistan crisis. In Myanmar, needs have risen as the crisis deepened. The Latin America and the Caribbean region is now home to 38.9 million people in need, 15.9 million of whom are impacted by the Venezuela crisis and in Eastern Europe, 16.8 million people are still in need because of the war in Ukraine.
There are three main drivers of these needs:
- Conflict: the world is experiencing more conflicts, which are more entrenched, with devastating consequences for civilians. In 2023 alone, the eruption of widespread conflict in Sudan and hostilities between Israel and Gaza caused a dramatic spike in civilian deaths. In five weeks alone, the number of civilians killed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was equivalent to almost 60 per cent of the total global number of civilians killed in 2022, which was itself already the deadliest year since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Almost 1 child in every 5 around the world is living in or fleeing from conflict zones.
- The global climate emergency: the climate crisis is spiraling, leaving a trail of destruction in its path. It is expected that 2023 will be the hottest year on record with concurrent climate disasters, from Tropical Cyclone Freddy in Southern Africa to the wildfires in Europe and the devastation wrought by Storm Daniel in Libya. Internal displacement caused by climate change surged by 45 per cent in a single year, between 2021 and 2022.
- Economic factors: economic dynamics are overlapping with conflict, climate disasters, infectious disease outbreaks and others, as a significant driver of humanitarian need, and are either a primary driver, or strong contributor, to rising needs in several crises, including Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela.
1 out of 5
children is living in or fleeing from conflict
1 in 73
people are forcibly displaced
countries reported cholera outbreaks in 2023
As a result, more people are displaced now than at any other time since the beginning of the century. Worldwide, more than 1 in 73 people are forcibly displaced, a ratio which has almost doubled in the past ten years. Conflict and climate disasters remain the main factors driving displacement. Internal displacement reached its highest ever level at the end of 2022, with 71.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) around the globe, representing a 20 per cent increase in a year (the largest year-on-year increase since 2013). The number of refugees is at a record high, of 36.4 million, with over half coming from Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine.
Acute food insecurity is a reality for 258 million people in 58 countries, driven by armed conflict, economic shocks, climate extremes, poverty and inequality. Wasting threatens the lives of 45 million children under 5 (accounting for 7 per cent of all children). Of this figure, 13.6 million are already suffering from severe wasting, placing them at imminent risk of death. Without concerted international efforts, the food security outlook will deteriorate further in 2024 with Burkina Faso, Mali, Occupied Palestinian Territory, South Sudan and Sudan at the highest level of concern.
Disease outbreaks are causing significant loss of life. Cholera outbreaks are reported in 29 countries and these have grown deadlier in the past two years due to overstretched health systems, shortages of the oral cholera vaccine, lack of access to clean water and sanitation, and the presence of multiple, parallel disease outbreaks. El Niño and other climate phenomena, including the Indian Ocean Dipole, are expected to worsen the effects of climate change and consequent health challenges worldwide, while many communities impacted by crises remain under-vaccinated for COVID-19.
However, although increased conflict, the global climate emergency and other drivers are causing needs to skyrocket in many places, the number of people identified as being in need has decreased in several countries between 2023 and 2024 for three main reasons. Firstly, there is some rare good news: following improvements, several countries have discontinued their humanitarian plans/ appeals for 2024, people in need in these countries are therefore not included in the 2024 GHO.1 These include, among others, Kenya, Malawi and Pakistan, each of which are on the road to recovery, following devastating climate shocks in 2023, but require urgent development investments to support communities suffering from the climate crisis. Secondly, as a small ray of hope, there have been some improvements within countries that still have humanitarian plans/appeals, albeit that needs in these countries remain extremely acute. For example, in Somalia, a massive scale-up in humanitarian response and the end of the drought in 2023, have led to a lower number of people in need in 2024. Meanwhile, in Yemen, the absence of large-scale conflict, greater freedom of movement and the increased flow of commercial and fuel imports in 2023, combined with targeted and effective humanitarian action, helped reduce need. Thirdly, the introduction of a new methodology for needs analysis – the Joint and Inter-Sectoral Analysis Framework (JIAF) 2.0 –has enabled more nuanced and rigorous analysis of humanitarian needs. In several countries, this has enabled humanitarian partners to more accurately pinpoint the people and places with the greatest needs, whilst ensuring there is no duplication.
In 2024, the UN and Partner Organizations are appealing for $46.4 billion to assist 180.5 million people across 72 countries.
The Middle East and North African region requires $13.9 billion, the largest total for any region in 2024 and accounting for 30 per cent of the Global Humanitarian Overview. East and Southern Africa requires $10.9 billion, while West and Central Africa calls for $8.3 billion. Asia and the Pacific will require $5.5 billion, Eastern Europe $4.1 billion, and Latin America and the Caribbean $3.6 billion.
This year’s global appeal reflects extensive efforts by humanitarian partners to prioritize response in areas where people face the most life- threatening needs, based on a realistic understanding of their capacity to deliver. In multiple countries, including Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Honduras, Nigeria and Somalia, humanitarian assistance will be focused in geographic areas that have been recently impacted by shocks and which have the highest needs. In others, such as Chad, Mali, Syria and Yemen, the Humanitarian Response Plans for 2024 have focused the response on the most urgent humanitarian needs, whilst highlighting the urgent need for a complementary development response.
The collective work of humanitarian partners will remain focused on delivering better for people in crisis in 2024, including through:
- Acknowledging and centering the work of local and national actors in humanitarian action. As the first responders at the heart of humanitarian response, local and national partners can mobilize networks and offer greater access to affected people, contributing to more effective, efficient and sustainable action. A quarter of CERF funding and 43 per cent of funding from Country-Based Pooled Funds (CBPF) is now channeled to local and national partners. Local and national actors are now present in 83 per cent of Humanitarian Country Teams, a 3 per cent increase from the previous year.
- Pursuing people-centred and accountable responses. In Syria and Türkiye, in response to the 2023 earthquakes, the humanitarian community leveraged an existing hotline for protection against sexual exploitation and abuse to listen to community voices and support the respectful and dignified delivery of aid. Efforts are underway—spearheaded by Flagship Initiative countries—to ensure humanitarian action is truly grounded in people’s priorities and bring responders closer to communities.
- Promoting quality and inclusive responses, including through the use of cash. This includes bringing together critical cross-cutting issues—such as gender, age, disability inclusion, protection and accountability to affected people—into a more holistic approach that acknowledges the unique needs of people impacted by crises and ensures a dignified and empowering response. Provision of cash and voucher assistance continues to provide an important avenue to ensure humanitarian assistance aligns with individual’s diverse and changing needs and empowers people impacted by crises to take decisions that meet their own priorities.
- Prioritizing humanitarian diplomacy. As the humanitarian sector faces increasingly challenging environments, including 175 million people believed to live under the control of armed groups and multiple bureaucratic and administrative impediments, humanitarian diplomacy and access negotiations offer ways to constructively engage and positively influence the humanitarian space, as highlighted in Afghanistan, Colombia, Syria and Myanmar.
Explore the report and interactive content through humanitarianaction.info
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.