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UN Appeals For $29 Bln Emergency Funding

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The humanitarian relief agency of the United Nations has appealed to the international community to raise $29 billion in emergency funding to provide humanitarian aid to millions of people affected by climate change and increasingly protracted conflicts.

Climatic shocks, large infectious disease outbreaks and intensifying, protracted conflicts have resulted in global needs increasing by 22 million people in the past year, the UN's emergency relief chief said in Geneva, at the launch of the OCHA Global Humanitarian Overview.

OCHA estimates that a record 168 million people worldwide will need help and protection in crises spanning more than 50 countries in 2020, the highest figure in decades.

Another disturbing trend is that armed conflicts are killing and maiming a record number of children, according to Mark Lowcock, the Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

"More than 12,000 in fact were killed or maimed in conflict in 2018, and 2019 has been worse," he told reporters.

In a call to donors, Lowcock said the UN and partner organisations including the Red Cross and other non-governmental organisations "will be aiming to assist 109 million of the most vulnerable people."

Lowcock, who is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said more frequent drought, flooding and tropical cyclones tend to disproportionately affect the poor and vulnerable.

"Thirteen of the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change are places in which we have an inter-agency appeal," he noted.

Yemen is going to be the world's worst humanitarian crisis in 2020 after nearly five years of war.
The UN official estimates that 80 per cent of the war-torn Middle East country's population, which is around 24 million people, are in need.

The UN is appealing for $3.2 billion in aid for Yemen alone.

Funding is also needed for other countries worst-affected by prolonged conflicts: Afghanistan ($732 million for 9.4 million people), Burundi ($104 million for 1.7 million people), Iraq ($520 million for 4.1 million people), Syria ($3.3 billion for 11 million people) and the Central African Republic ($388 million for 2.6 million people).

Turning to Venezuela, where the funding requirement is $1.35 billion for 3.8 million people in 2020, needs are "substantially outstripping resources," Lowcock said.

The unexpected scale of infectious disease outbreaks has also helped drive needs to unprecedented levels.

Lowcock said that nearly 800 attacks against health workers and healthcare facilities in the first nine months of 2019 have claimed 171 lives.

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