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People in need of humanitarian aid worldwide surge to over 363m

August 18, 2023 at 8:10 pm

Afghan burqa-clad women receive food from foreign aid in Kandahar on August 10, 2023 [SANAULLAH SEIAM/AFP via Getty Images]

A total of 324.3 million people, worldwide, were in need of humanitarian aid last year, a number that rose to 363.3 million as of this month with the effects of war, climate change and the lingering socio-economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s Global Humanitarian Assistance Report by the UK-based non-profit, Development Initiatives, revealed that humanitarian crises had deepened across the globe in 2022.

According to the report, three-quarters of people in need of humanitarian assistance faced at least two of the three factors of conflict, the climate crisis or socio-economic vulnerability.

Wars, climate change

According to data by the UN Humanitarian Coordination Office (OCHA), while 255.1 million people were in need of humanitarian aid in 2021, this surged to 324.3 million in 2022 and 363.3 million in the first eight months of 2023.

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While $37.64 billion was enough to meet the needs of people in need in 2021, this amount increased to $51.7 billion in 2022 and to $55.21 billion in August 2023, particularly acute malnutrition.

Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, Myanmar, Ukraine, Syria and South Sudan were listed as the top 10 countries in need of humanitarian aid.

Impacted by years of political and economic crisis, Afghanistan was home to 18.4 million people in need of humanitarian aid in 2021, 24.4 million people in 2022, and 29.2 million people as of the eighth month of 2023.

The number of people in need of humanitarian aid in conflict- and drought-hit Ethiopia was 23.9 million in 2021, as were at least 20 million last year, and 28.6 million by August.

In the DRC, where a food crisis continues, the number of people facing humanitarian crisis has risen from 19.6 million in 2021 to 27 million in 2022. However, it fell to 26.4 million as of this month.

While 13.4 million in 2021 and 14.3 million in 2022 needed humanitarian aid in Sudan, this number increased to 24.7 million as of August 2023, due to the conflicts between the army and the paramilitary forces that erupted on 15 April.

In Yemen, where the effects of ongoing civil war between the government and Iran-backed Houthis have been ongoing since 2014, 20.7 million people in 2021, 23.5 million people in 2022, and 21.6 million people as of the eighth month of this year are in need of aid.

While 11 million people were affected by the humanitarian crisis in 2021 in Pakistan due to climate-triggered problems such as floods, this number increased to 20.6 million in 2022 and remained stable in August 2023.

While 1 million people in Myanmar needed aid in 2021, that number rose to 14.4 million last year and to 17.6 million by August 2023. Food safety and health issues were major causes of this in the South-east Asian country.

The number of people in need of humanitarian aid in Ukraine, which has been experiencing the severe effects of the Russia-Ukraine war, reached 17.6 million as of August 2023.

Due to the civil war that has been going on in Syria since March 2011, the number of people in need of humanitarian aid remains high. This was 13.4 million people in 2021, 14.6 million people in 2022 and 15.3 million people in August 2023.

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In South Sudan, affected by extreme climate events and lack of infrastructure, it was determined that 8.3 million people in 2021, 8.9 million people in 2022 and 9.4 million people by August 2023 needed humanitarian aid.

Outside these countries, 152.3 million more people needed humanitarian aid.

Turkiye continues aid efforts across globe

Turkiye has been providing humanitarian aid in many countries for years, including in Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon, Pakistan and Syria last year, according to an official report from the nation’s Disaster Management Agency.

Under the coordination of the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), Turkiye launched a “kindness train” to get aid materials to the earthquake victims in Afghanistan’s north-western province of Badgis, said the annual report.

A 5.3 magnitude earthquake occurred in the region on 17 January last year near Afghanistan’s border with Turkmenistan.

Turkiye has since sent a total of 18 kindness trains to the region, carrying the flour, tents, food, blankets and clothing for about 1 million people.

The country also shipped 13,200 tons of flour to Palestine in 2022 through the UN Assistance Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).

In 2022, AFAD sent some 3,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Lebanon, where people face difficulties obtaining food, water, medicine, electricity and fuel due to an economic crisis.

While millions in Pakistan were affected by floods caused by the monsoon rains of 2022, AFAD sent more kindness trains to that country in cooperation with the Turkish Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, while more help was sent by air.

Nearly 9,000 tons of humanitarian aid was delivered to Pakistan on 15 planes, 13 kindness trains and two “kindness ships”.

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The monsoon season in Pakistan, like in other countries in the region, usually results in heavy rains, but 2022 was the most severe since 1961.

One-third of the country was under water, as the massive rains and melting glaciers caused the country’s main Indus River to overflow, inundating vast swaths of plains and farms.

In 2020, Turkiye set a goal to construct 100,000 briquette houses in northern Syria to meet the needs of the people in the region.

According to the report, 93,778 of these dwellings were completed in 2022 in line with this goal.

War-victim families were placed in thousands of these briquette houses, a project to which Turkiye attaches great importance to allow uprooted Syrians to return to their home country.

On 19 May, Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said they prepared the housing construction project in Syria for the return of nearly 1 million refugees to their lands.

Additionally, Turkiye distributed 200,000 food parcels to those living in northern Syria last year.

Some 87,000 tons of flour, baby food, hygiene kits and clothes, which were supplied by the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) and provided with logistics by the Turkish Red Crescent, were also shipped to the region.

Turkiye has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

The country, which already hosts 4 million refugees, more than any other country in the world, is taking new measures at its borders to prevent a fresh influx of migrants.

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