132 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2019, warns UN

132 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2019, warns UN

Today, 4th December 2018, UNOCHA released their 2019 Global Humanitarian Overview to present detailed, prioritised and costed plans for responding to humanitarian emergencies worldwide.

The report detailed how humanitarian crises are becoming more frequent and protracted, primarily driven by armed conflict.

In 2019, it is expected that 132 million people will need humanitarian assistance. The UN and parter organisations aim to assist 93.6 million of the most vulnerable with food, shelter, education, protection, healthcare and other basic assistance.

The report highlights that the funding requirements for 2019 will total $21.9 billion; this does not include the financial requirements for Syria which will be confirmed in a separate Humanitarian Response Plan. It is expected that total funding requirements including Syria will be $25 billion.

As of mid-November, donors have provided $13.9 billion – 10% more than at the same time in 2017.

Mark Lowcock, Emergency Relief Coordinator commented:

“Donors are increasingly generous, yet every year there is a gap between what is required and the funding received…early action and innovative financing, such as risk insurance and contingency financing, can help close this gap. Improved coordination with development programming in 2019 can also help reduce overall future requirements by tackling the root causes of humanitarian need and strengthening community resilience.”

In recent years, the average length of Humanitarian Response Plans have increased from 5.2 years in 2014 to 9.3 years in 2018. These country plans are combined to make up the annual Global Humanitarian Response Plan.

The number of people affected by humanitarian crises and the amount needed to meet their urgent needs has increased each year. This is largely driven by large scale, protracted crises; between 2014 and 2018 the crises in Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Syria accounted for 55% of all funding requested and received.

This is exacerbated by natural disasters and climate change which have a high human cost. Each year disasters affect 350 million people and cause billions of dollars of damage, this is expected to increase with climate change.

Mark Lowcock added:

“The humanitarian system today is more effective than ever. We are better at identifying different groups’ specific needs and vulnerabilities and quicker to respond when disaster strikes.”

Humanitarian responses are increasing in effectiveness and reach, throughout 2018 tens of millions of people across 41 countries were given humanitarian assistance. For example, each month 5.4 million people in Syria received medical supplies and protection, and 8 million Yemenis were reached with food assistance.


The AIDF Global Summit will return to Washington, D.C., USA for its 11th year in 2019.

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Image credit: UNOCHA

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