Some 235 million people will need humanitarian aid in 2021, 40% more that in 2020, due to the emergencies that the covid-19 pandemic has caused on the planet but also the impact of climate change or persistent conflicts, the United Nations warns today.
That is the forecast of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which for next year will request 35 billion dollars from the international community (20% more than in 2020) in order to reach 160 million of those needy people, according to EFE.
The UN humanitarian assistance program for 2021 includes items directed to 56 countries affected by crises, including the health crisis derived from covid-19, and its objective, according to the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, is to “help to people in their darkest hour of need. ”
For the UN chief of humanitarian operations, Mark Lowcock, the request for help for the next exercise comes at a time when “rich countries are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, something that is not the case in the poorer nations “as the pandemic will drag millions of people into misery.
The main humanitarian item will be Syria for another year and the refugee communities of that country in the Middle East, since the United Nations will request from the international community 10 billion dollars to assist 20.6 million people affected by that conflict of almost ten years.
Another crisis derived from the war, in Yemen, will force the UN to request 3,400 million dollars with the aim of reaching 19 million people, while almost 4,000 million dollars will be requested to serve the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan , countries ravaged by political and economic instability.
For Latin America, OCHA will request 762 million of dollars in order to serve 4.5 million people in Venezuela and another 1.4 billion to help 3.3 of the more than seven million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in other countries in the region.
In many of these countries, one of the main threats according to the UN humanitarian chief is the possibility of major famines, which “could occur in many parts of the world and will be a tough test for 2021,” anticipates Lowcock.
“Latin America has been seriously affected by the pandemic, both in number of infections and in mortality rates,” recalled Lowcock, adding that areas such as Central America “they are increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events” such as hurricanes.
A provision of 300 million dollars is also included for assistance programs aimed at 1.5 million people in Colombia, although the United Nations indicates that in that country there are still some 6.7 million Colombians who require humanitarian aid in the context of recovery after decades of conflict.
In 2020, donors from the United Nations contributed a record $ 17 billion, although it was less than half of what was requested, with which 98 million people were served, just 70 percent of the annual goal.
“We have a choice to make: let 2021 be the year of the big setback, after 40 years of progress, or work together to ensure that we find a way out of this pandemic,” Lowcock said in presenting the priorities for next year.