Record numbers to require humanitarian assistance: UN

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One in every 45 people on the planet needs food, shelter, healthcare, emergency education, protection or other essential assistance, the UN said Wednesday in an annual report.

The Global Humanitarian Overview 2020 is based on needs in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territories, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela and Yemen.

"In 2019, many more people needed assistance than a year ago. The reason is that because more people were affected by conflict and by climate change than we had thought," UN Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said at the report's launch in Geneva.

The UN said a record 168 million people worldwide would need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2020.

Lowcock also noted that armed conflicts are killing or maiming a record number of children.

"Climate change, conflict and economic instability are devastating millions of lives," he said, noting that along with crumbling economies, they had pushed millions to the brink of survival.

At the same launch, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) released its US$4.2 billion 2020 emergency appeal to reach 59 million children with life-saving support in 64 countries across the globe.

The five largest individual UNICEF appeals are for Syrian refugees and host communities in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey ($864.1 million); Yemen ($535 million); Syria ($294.8 million); the Democratic Republic of the Congo ($262.7 million); and South Sudan ($180.5 million).

UNICEF said it is the biggest request of donors yet, representing 3.5 times the funds requested in 2010.

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